Cardiff City-Newcastle United Preview
A rather rough stretch over the last month in the Premier League has left Newcastle United sitting atop the relegation zone.
However, a positive result against visiting Cardiff City on Saturday would certainly help the Magpies' cause.
Newcastle (4-6-12) have won just once in their last nine Premier League matches, and are 0-2-3 within the top-flight since recording that victory at lowly Huddersfield Town on Dec. 15. The Magpies have been outscored 9-2 during their last five league contests and will try to avoid a third consecutive defeat following a 2-1 loss at Chelsea last weekend.
The club's current rut has them in the top spot of the Premier League drop zone, but just one point behind 17th-place Cardiff (5-4-13). Which means a victory for Newcastle on Saturday would take them past the Bluebirds in the table and out of the bottom three.
"It's massive," midfielder Sean Longstaff, who scored in Newcastle's 4-2 victory over Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup this week, told the team's official website.
"The leagues' so tight this year, one win can take you up a few places. And it's a lot nicer looking at the table if you're (not) in the bottom three."
Earning that recent FA Cup victory does nothing to improve their league status, but at least gives the Magpies some momentum heading into this contest, even though the lineups between the two games are likely to look different.
"We know it's a big game, but there's still more games to come after that - more winnable games," Longstaff added. "So, we've just got to keep working hard and listening to what the manager and staff are preaching, and go from there."
In August, Newcastle left Wales with a scoreless draw against Cardiff, who endured the same result versus Huddersfield last weekend, and will try to avoid being blanked for a fourth consecutive match over all competitions on Saturday.
The Bluebirds have managed just one goal - from Victor Camarasa - over their last five games overall, though they did take five points during that stretch. However, manager Neil Warnock expected more from his club against a last-place team like Huddersfield.
"If you can't win, you've got a point and you're better off having a point than nothing," Warnock told Cardiff's official website.
"I'm disappointed because it was there to be won and we weren't up to scratch."
Warnock's players agree that they missed a golden opportunity to secure three points in that most recent Premier League match, but that's now in the past.
"We were disappointed, but as a group and as a club, we have to take the positives from (last weekend)," Cardiff midfielder Harry Arter said. "The commitment was there from everybody, and it puts us in good stead for the rest of the season.
"We'll put in 100 percent, and we always try to do what our manager asks of us."
In transfer news, reports suggest that Cardiff City have agreed to a loan deal with Everton forward Oumar Niasse, who could provide some needed offensive depth.
Updated January 17, 2019