Newcastle vs Middlesbrough

In Football on May 10, 2009 at 15:22

By Joe,

Michael Owen Newcastle FC

Newcastle and Middlesbrough are locked on 31 points and have been given a lifeline by Hull City 2-1 home defeat to Stoke. The North East league derby is a match that is an outmost importance for both teams as they have to stay out of the relegation. It is a battle for survival for the Tyne-Tees teams where a win is crucial, draw is not an option as it will mean doom and a defeat means relegation that will see them playing in the Championship next season. Both teams are in the brink of playing for the Championship next season and this will not go well in the financial books. This game is vital for both teams and we will see a showdown match on Monday night.

In their most recent away game, Middlesbrough had their 10th consecutive away loss at the Emirates and travelling to St. James Park on Monday night could set up a club record of 11 successive away league defeats if they lose. Gareth Southgate cannot afford to set an unwanted record. Having said these, compare to Newcastle, they are closer to survival and have more chance to get out from playing for the Championship next season. Andrew Taylor returns to the squad for the Monday night’s derby. Emanuel Pogatetz (knee) and Chris Riggot (ankle) are out.

Newcastle last victory was in the Hawthorns and since then, they have clocked up 10 lost in the Premier League games where half of it is under Alan Shearer. They are below the safety line and one goal difference from Boro. Their premiership status might be up for expiry but they are still fighting. Shearer has stressed the importance of winning against Boro and Fulham and the players have to take responsibility to avoid the unthinkable as the boat is sinking fast. He needs all his players to be on their best form and best behavior. He has hinted that he might recall Michael Owen and central defender Steven Taylor returned to the training, both might return to the starting line-up. Jose Enrique (hamstring injury), Alan Smith (thigh) Steven Taylor are doubtful while Joey Barton is to start his three-match suspension after being sent off at Liverpool.

This game looks more likely to be a stalemate as both team knows a lot is on the stake. Newcastle might have a better squad on paper but both teams’ morale and confidence are at low. The one who wins here could save themselves from playing the Championship next season. Go for a safe bet and you won’t be disappointed with a draw and Ladbrokes is offering a draw at 3.40.

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