Newcastle’s top-heavy campaign hit a new low with their fifth loss on the bounce at home to Swansea, who had won just one of their previous 12 fixtures.
It’s been quite the clown show at St James’ Park this season, even by the Magpies’ comedic standards, but with boss Alan Pardew back on the sidelines after a seven-game suspension, they may yet have a large say on how the final Premier League table takes its form.
Pardew’s charges are still in ninth place, despite losing a whopping 12 of their last 17 league games, due to a strong start to the season that saw them in sixth place – just three points behind 9/50 title-favourites Liverpool – after a 4-1 win at home to Stoke on Boxing Day.
Over the ten games since at St James’ Park, they’ve managed to find the net just four times, much to the mirth of the Sunderland fans who watched their side claim three goals without reply at the home of their great rivals back in February.
The black and yellow boys at bwin don’t give Newcastle much of a sniff in their next match away to Arsenal, with the visitors 31/4 to inflict a second Emirates loss of the league campaign on the Gunners and 23/10 in the double-chance market that they win or draw against Wenger’s men.
However, with Pardew in danger of impending unemployment and Newcastle facing the possibility of dropping below Crystal Palace – who are now just 3/1 to hand boss Tony Pulis his first top-ten finish – there could be a dramatic closing act to the Magpies’ bizarre 2013/14 campaign.
Don’t forget, this is a side that won at White Hart Lane and Old Trafford earlier in the season and beat Chelsea 2-0 at St James’ Park after holding Liverpool to a 2-2 draw in their previous home league fixture.
Their woeful current run began with a 1-0 loss to Arsenal in front of the Toon Army, a match they should have taken at least a point from and with Pardew thought to be fighting for his career over the next three games, a shock result in north London may well be in the offing.
Any kind of away result would be music to the ears of Everton fans, who need to win all their games and hope Arsenal slip up once in their last three matches to make it into the top four of the Premier League for only the second time at 7/2 odds.
Newcastle then host Cardiff in the final match on their own patch this term and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will go all out for a repeat of their FA Cup third-round victory on Tyneside in the Norwegian’s first match in charge, with the Bluebirds by no means down and out yet at 3/25 for relegation.
With the Geordies’ last outing of the campaign away to Liverpool, they’ll need something from the next two fixtures.