Are We Real Relegation Candidates?

Last updated : 08 February 2019 By Footy Mad - Editor

Sporting Life have looked at Newcastle's chances of staying above the relegation zone.

24 points .... 16 away from the magical 40 ... although Rafa says 37 will be enough.

Newcastle have lost nine of their 13 defeats by a slender one-goal margin - including a backs-to-the-wall performance against Tottenham last weekend.

The Magpies have scored 21 goals to date - only Huddersfield have fewer - but seven clean sheets and numerous stellar displays from stopper Martin Dubravka has boosted the Magpies' standing - despite the Slovakian making a costly error against Spurs.

Rafa Benitez's side have the league's second-lowest average for possession with just 38 per cent, contributing to an above-average proportion of passes going forwards (42 per cent).

A primary tactic has been firing crosses into the box, with this leading to nine headers so far - only Tottenham (13) and Bournemouth (10) have more.

Salomon Rondon has become quite a cult hero on Tyneside with six goals to date, including the decisive equaliser in Newcastle's 2-1 win against Manchester City last month.

Matt Ritchie remains the creative engine, but fans will be eager to see new club-record transfer Miguel Almiron and hope the former Atlanta United star will boost the team's attacking threat to secure top-flight status come May.

The Magpies will be looking to glean points from Huddersfield and Burnley this month before facing a sustained run of mid-table opposition - with the exception of Arsenal in April and Liverpool on the penultimate weekend.

Are there three worse teams in the league? Of course there are!