The only two sides beneath Newcastle in the league table – Aston Villa and Sunderland both lost today – Sunderland lost 1-0 at West Ham and Aston Villa went down 2-1 at the Britannia Stadium, where Newcastle play on Wednesday night.
The Hammers extended their unbeaten home run to 13 games with the win over Sunderland with a single goal from Michail Antonio after 30 minutes being the difference between the sides.
Michail Antonio after scoring Hammers’ winning goal
Andy Carroll had a volley that came of the cross bar in the second half, but Sunderland don’t seem to concede too many goals since Sam Allardyce took over – unlike another north-east side we know.
Sunderland remain one point behind us on 23 points after 27 games.
Stoke beat Aston Villa 2-1 after going ahead with two second half goals from Arnautovic, before Bacuna pulled one back for Villa with 11 minutes remaining in the game.
That was Villa’s 17th defeat in 27 games and they remain on 16 points – 8 points behind Newcastle and at -27 they even have a worse goal difference than we do – and that’s saying something.
Unless Aston Villa can come up with a Leicester City type escape in the final 11 games – the club that won the European Cup in 1982 look doomed to relegation – which will be the first time they have ever been relegated from the Premier League.
Norwich City were a little unlucky at Leicester, where they were holding on well at 0-0 late in the game but Leonardo Ulloa scored in the 89th minute to get Leicester the win and extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to five points.
We have to remember that a year ago at this time Leicester were rock bottom of the Premier League and that was their 16th win of the season but in this game Norwich deserved a draw.
We want Leicester to win the league and maybe we can emulate them next season?
But first of all Newcastle have to do an escape act to avoid relegation.
Bournemouth did well to get a goalless draw at Watford, where both chances had chances to win the game but it was a good point for the Cherries who now have 29 points after 27 games – 5 points more than Newcastle and we play them at St. James’ Park next Saturday.
And at half time in the late game Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace are continuing their drastic slump this year and are 3-0 down at West Brom.
In their previous seven league games this year Palace have only an away draw against Swansea and six defeats.
So if they lose today that would be eight league games with just one point, although they are in the quarter finals of the FA Cup having beaten Tottenham 1-0 last weekend at White Hart Lane.
And rather than keep looking at teams near us in the relegation zone and hoping for the best, Newcastle have to start picking up some wins and getting way from the relegation zone.
They need to give their fans some much needed relief this season – after the disaster of last season under John Carver.
Our squad has to be in the top ten of Premier League squads – so what are we doing in 18th place in the league?
Steve McClaren is rightly under enormous pressure to produce the results and we have to get something out of the game at the Britannia Stadium on Wednesday night where another defeat – that would be our 11th in 14 away games – would not be good.
Then we have to beat Bournemouth next Saturday and that will not be easy.