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Newcastle Gifted the Driving Seat

By | 9th May 2009

newcastle-united-benchA very impressive Stoke City side continued to march up the table by handing Hull City a shock 2-1 defeat at the KC Stadium this afternoon. In all fairness, Phil Brown’s Tigers were completely outplayed and had it not been for defender Andy Dawson’s last minute consolation, the final score would have been a little too embarrassing for the hosts.

While Hull’s free-fall from European places into a fight for relegation has been very well documented over the last few months, many expected them to eventually go clear of a stuttering Newcastle side that refuses to pick up points under Alan Shearer. However, the Tigers did the exact opposite by handing the Magpies a very unexpected lifeline in this thrilling battle for survival.

When Newcastle players take the field for a relegation six-pointer against Middlesbrough this Monday evening, they will know that a win will fire them out of the relegation zone on goal difference. With their destiny in their own hands despite such poor form, Alan Shearer’s men can definitely thank the lackluster form of their relegation rivals.

Despite gaining control of their battle for survival, however, I have a feeling that Newcastle will struggle to make most of this opportunity. While I hope I am wrong, I can’t help but mention a similar scenario that comes to mind. Going into the final game of Euro 2008 qualification, Steve McClaren’s undisciplined England side was gifted an unexpected control of their qualification campaign when rivals Russia were upset by a second-string Israel side.

As a result, England needed a draw at home against Croatia in order to make it to Austria and Switzerland that summer. However, the Three Lions were beaten 3-2 at their own turf, a situation that could very well repeat this Monday for Newcastle United. I can definitely sense a cracker of a game between two extremely desperate sides.

To add to the entertainment factor, it is almost guaranteed that we will have a winner. Unlike the England-Croatia game, none of these sides will be content with a draw, as that will make it almost impossible for either side to avoid relegation. Therefore, I urge you to tune in to this game. Regardless of the outcome, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

Can Newcastle pull off an unlikely survival? Have your say in the comments section below!

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