The relegation battle is hotting up. With 12 Premier League games remaining there are still a number of clubs who can go down. Two of those are Huddersfield Town and Newcastle United, and they’ll be going head-to-head on Saturday in what could be a key game in the relegation battle come to the end of the season.
Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle will be the overwhelming favourites for this clash, especially seeing as Huddersfield have won just two games this season and sit 14 points away from safety. If the Terriers can take points off of the Magpies, though, it could set them up for a serious battle for the 33 points that will be available to them come to the end of the season.
The Geordies have had a tough season so far, after coming 10th in the previous campaign optimism was aplenty. However, Rafa Benitez was given little in the way of resources and his side has stagnated. That’s left the fans unhappy and the turned the St James Park atmosphere toxic at times, yet given the strength in the squad they’ll still be expected to avoid the drop and make it three consecutive top-flight seasons.
If Benitez’s side does plummet to the Championship it will be their third relegation under the ownership of Mike Ashley, so going down is hardly an alien concept to the fans. Despite that, it must still be avoided at all costs. To make sure they avoid relegation they’ll have to improve their record against the teams around them. In their five games so far this season against the sides below them they’ve won just two out of five.
TT GRADE: B
After a valiant first season in the Premier League in which David Wagner secured safety with an unlikely draw at Stamford Bridge, the Terriers have failed to build on that this season. So far in the campaign, the Yorkshire club has won a total of two matches out of 26. That second win and their most recent in all competitions came 90 days ago on November 25th away at Wolves.
Aaron Mooy, who’s usually one of the Terriers star men, has been out of sorts this season, missing seven games with a knee injury and scoring just two goals all season, with both of them coming in that aforementioned win at Molineux. If the Terriers aren’t dead and buried now then they will be if they lose at St James Park, as the curtain looms imminent to come down on their stint as a Premier League club.
TT GRADE: D
Unfortunately for Huddersfield, the winner of this battle is fairly easy to work out. Newcastle don’t currently occupy a spot in the bottom three and have a gap of one point to work with between themselves and the drop zone. Meanwhile, with the Terriers sitting 14 points adrift their future as a Premier League is looking bleak. However, if they nick a win in the North East they could drag the Magpies down with them.