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Can You Believe It!? Hull for the Drop!

By | 12th May 2009

newcastle-celebrateAfter all of the good things that were said about Hull City in the first half of the season and all of the times that we laughed at Newcastle’s misfortunes, at long last the Magpies are proving me right. Before the season began I predicted Hull for the drop, and that prediction seemed absolutely ridiculous until January rolled around. Finally, the Tigers find themselves in the bottom three.

The flip side to this story, of course, is that Newcastle has finally been revived. I’ve said all along that with a squad like theirs, Newcastle is way too good to face the drop this season. Obafemi Martins, Michael Owen, and Fabricio Coloccini are class players that all deserve Premier League football, and their win over Middlesbrough yesterday lifted them out of the bottom three.

Just two games remain in the 2008/09 Barclays Premier League season, and I can’t help but think that Hull will be relegated. While none of the twenty Premiership teams are mathematical certainties to go down, all the signs point towards Hull City, Middlesbrough, and West Bromwich Albion going down.

Here’s the breakdown of Hull’s chances versus Newcastle’s:

Hull City

Hull have two tricky games still to come, and they are tied on points with Newcastle but behind them in goal difference. Their first match comes this weekend away to Bolton Wanderers. Bolton is a tough side to beat at the Reebok, so I don’t think Hull will pick up all three points. A draw is the most optimistic prediction for Hull, so we’ll assume that’s plus one for them.

Hull’s final match of the season is at home to Manchester United. While Phil Brown’s team proudly put up a fight at Old Trafford, I don’t think they’ll get anywhere close to scoring another two against United. United are now playing well and Hull have gone in the opposite direction. Zero points for Hull here.

Prediction: That leaves Hull with one additional point, putting them at 35 points for the season (sounds like relegation to me!).

Newcastle United

Newcastle’s final two games may look tricky on paper, but I’d much rather be in Alan Shearer’s position than the ever brown Phil Brown’s position. Newcastle square off against Fulham at St. James’ Park this weekend in a game that they should win. Yes, Fulham are chasing a spot in Europe, but something tells me they’ll falter once again on the road – especially in front of a fired up Newcastle crowd. Best case for Newcastle here is a win, and worst case should be a draw. We’ll play it cautious and say plus one for Newcastle here.

Their final match of the season is at Villa Park against Aston Villa. This really could go either way depending which Villa team shows up and depending on which Newcastle team shows up. Let’s put it this way – while Hull are hosting the defending Premier League champions, Newcastle will be up against a team that has run out of pace just as much as Hull have. Newcastle, as long as they’re up for it, could walk away from this match with at least a draw.

Prediction: Erring on the side of caution, Newcastle should pick up an additional two points, leaving them with 36 points Рtwo above Hull, and possibly ahead of Sunderland on goal difference.

This all, of course, is assuming that Middlesbrough and West Brom are certs for the drop. Personally, I’m not so sure this is such a safe assumption. There’s still a lot to be said in the relegation battle.

Check Premiership Talk next week for a full rundown of relegation possibilities, as it’s certain to be one of the most interesting things on the final day of the season. In the meantime, leave your predictions below so you can look like a footballing mastermind in a fortnight’s time!

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