Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Big Weekend for Clubs Fighting for Their Lives; THE AGENDA: How Magpies Will Have Their Eyes Fixed on Results Elsewhere This Weekend

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Big Weekend for Clubs Fighting for Their Lives; THE AGENDA: How Magpies Will Have Their Eyes Fixed on Results Elsewhere This Weekend

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Waugh NUFC writer Twitter: @CHRISDMWAUGH

NEWCASTLE United and Swansea City face a huge relegation clash at St James' Park this weekend - but so too do the majority of the teams in the bottom half of the Premier League table.

After a weekend hiatus for the FA Cup third round, the Premier League returns with a round of fixtures which could prove crucial to helping determine the final survival battle.

Just five points separate nine teams placed between 10th and 18th, while the bottom two sides need to ensure they are not cut further adrift from safety.

Here, NUFC Writer Chris Waugh runs through the weekend's fixtures which feature the Premier League's relegation-threatened sides...

Newcastle United v Swansea City (Saturday, 3pm) Benitez is looking to continue the Magpies' excellent form against their relegation rivals - with Newcastle currently leading the 'bottomhalf table'.

United have already done the double over both Stoke City and West Ham United this season, and they can also defeat the Swans for the second time this term.

Bottom-of-the-table Swansea have appointed Carlos Carvalhal and risk being cut adrift of safety if they do not secure a win.

It is crucial Newcastle improve upon their recent home form - they have secured just one draw and recorded five defeats in their last six league games on Tyneside - and United need a positive result as some of their relegation rivals are guaranteed to pick up points themselves.

Crystal Palace v Burnley (Saturday, 3pm) The Clarets have been one of the Premier League's surprise packages this term, but Roy Hodgson and Palace will be confident of claiming another home victory this weekend. The foundations of the Eagles' revival has been their form at Selhurst Park, with Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend in particular leading their resurgence.

Palace are currently below Newcastle on goal difference alone, but United will likely need to win if they want to remain ahead of the Eagles after this weekend.

Huddersfield Town v West Ham United (Saturday, 3pm) The Terriers enjoyed an excellent first half of the season back in the top flight, but they now find themselves just four points above the drop zone.

West Ham, meanwhile, are level on points with Newcastle following their draw with Tottenham Hotspur - though, in general, the east Londoners have struggled away from home.

A draw appears a likely result in this one but, if either side can record a win, they will probably ensure they pull more than three points clear of the bottom three in the process.

West Bromwich Albion v Brighton and Hove Albion (Saturday, 3pm) This is a cliched must-win game for Alan Pardew and West Brom, there is no doubt about that.

The former Magpies manager secured his first win as Baggies boss in the FA Cup over the weekend but, after eight league games into his role at The Hawthorns, he is yet to enjoy a 'new manager bounce'. …

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