What Newcastle must do to avoid the possibility of relegation

The Magpies are entering the home stretch without a win since February.

Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur resigned Newcastle United to a record-equalling sixth consecutive league loss and leaves the North-East side facing an increasing threat of a second relegation from the Premier League in six years.

Currently in 14th place, the Magpies have been stuck on 35 points since their victory over Aston Villa in February, resulting in a seven point safety net above the drop-zone.

With five games to play including trips to relegation rivals Leicester and QPR, The Toon must turn around the ongoing slump that finds them bottom of the form table.

Thankfully for Newcastle, the three remaining fixtures are at home, starting with the visit of eighth-placed Swansea on Saturday.

If United are to get anything from these crucial contests, they must overcome their inability to score.

Since their last win, Newcastle have netted a paltry two goals and conceded 12. Leading scorer Papiss Cissé is currently two away from completing a seven-match ban, leaving young prospect Ayoze Pérez to spearhead the black and white front-line. Whilst the Spaniard has performed admirably in the absence of Cissé, futile support from a fragile midfield has given Pérez little to capitalise on.

Wingers Yoan Gouffran and Gabriel Obertan both displayed poor positioning and decision making against Spurs, resulting in a break-down in attacking play. Much of the burden to create chances fell to Remy Cabella, who had to run the ball out of his own half on more than one occasion.

Local lad Jack Colback has shown the basic desire to win the ball, but due to his teammates' penchant for losing possession, has found himself sitting in front of his back four more often than floating around the opposition's box.

At the back, the returning Fabricio Coloccini must find his best form to steady a shaky defence. Playing for the first time in over a month, the captain showed signs of rust against Spurs and cannot afford to take any more time to settle in.

The first team struggles come off the back of well documented problems within the club's infrastructure, problems the players and manager John Carver must not allow to disrupt their focus if they are to achieve desired results.

Thankfully for the Magpies, the form of teams below them in the table has been poor, and perhaps 35 points will be enough to see them escape the drop.

The bottom five, consisting of Burnley, QPR, Leicester, Hull and Sunderland are all separated by three points and, with the exception of Leicester, are struggling for results. With the Foxes still due to meet Burnley, QPR and Sunderland before the season's over, it’s likely that the games between these sides will decide who falls through the Premier League’s trap door.

However, Newcastle cannot allow that notion to comfort them. Should these sides find an upturn in fortunes, it could spell disaster for the Toon.

As it stands, Newcastle’s fate is in their hands beginning with Saturday’s tie against Swansea. Gary Monk’s men have won only two of their previous six matches - a fact Newcastle must capitalise on, something they did not do against the out-of-sorts Tottenham. It could be the biggest three points earned on Tyneside this season.

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