Three key fixtures take place this evening as the scrap for places in next season’s Premier League increases in intensity.
At the bottom end of the top flight, Newcastle United are hoping they can close the three-point gap to 17th-place Norwich City, while in the second-tier the three side vying for automatic promotion take to the field.
Table-topping Middlesbrough travel to Burnley, who sit two points adrift of the Teessiders in second, while Brighton, looking to upgrade the bronze medal they’re currently in line to claim, entertain QPR.
Unfortunately for the Magpies, their battle to retain Premier League status will take a turn for the worse against the flying Citizens, whose potential victory on Tyneside folds into a 5/1 treble alongside Boro and Brighton wins.
October 2008 was the last time the Magpies didn’t lose when this duo locked horns, though the best they could manage on that occasion was a 2-2 draw.
Their last victory over the Citizens came in September 2005.
The visitors have won four and drawn one of their last five – a run of results that includes two games against French champions Paris Saint-Germain and one against their English equivalents Chelsea – whereas the Toon have succumbed in six of eight.
Middlesbrough to beat Burnley @ 8/5
The Clarets haven’t been bested in the Championship since Boxing Day, but Burnley have beaten just three teams inside the second-tier’s top eight this term.
By contrast, Boro have toppled eight adversaries in the same bracket from 11 and have a 100% record from three games against Burnley under Aitor Karanka.
Brighton to beat QPR @ 1/2
Stopping the Seagulls takes some doing, as five of their last six foes have found out.
The only team able to prevent Brighton winning across this timeframe was Burnley, who required an injury-time equaliser to avoid defeat.
Four of their last half dozen have been settled in their favour by a solitary goal, suggesting they have the battling qualities required to slay an R’s outfit who have lost just three league matches in 2016.
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