Newcastle vs Cardiff preview: Relegation rivals meet in crucial clash
Last Updated: 19/01/19 11:26am
Newcastle will be looking to make it 10 wins on the spin in home fixtures against Cardiff as the pair clash in a crucial relegation fixture.
St James' Park has been a bogey ground for the Bluebirds over the years, with nine straight defeats on Tyneside. And further back, Newcastle have won 17 of their last 18 home league fixtures against Cardiff.
Rafa Benitez's men are currently filling the final relegation spot and are one point behind Cardiff in 17th place.
The clubs drew 0-0 in the reverse fixture in August. Isaac Hayden was sent off for Newcastle, and Kenedy missed a last-minute penalty.
Despite Newcastle's precarious position, boss Rafa Benitez has played down the importance of this fixture.
He said: "My analysis is very simple. We must play at home against Burnley, Palace and Huddersfield after this who maybe we can beat at home, too. This is a big game and we want to win; it is not rocket science. But we have to keep going even if we win, or if we don't."
Benitez is hopeful of having some of his walking wounded fit for Saturday.
Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark, Fabian Schar and Isaac Hayden all limped away from Tuesday night's FA Cup third-round replay victory at Blackburn, but Benitez is keeping his fingers crossed that several could make it.
Jonjo Shelvey (thigh) and Paul Dummett (hamstring) are both out.
Oumar Niasse is in line to make his Cardiff debut.
The Senegal striker completed his loan move from Everton in time to play on Tyneside and is expected to start, with Cardiff having failed to score in their last three games.
Captain Sean Morrison could miss out after being admitted to hospital this week with what the club described as "a procedure" and, if he does, Bruno Ecuele Manga will be switched to central defence, with Lee Peltier coming in at right-back.
- Newcastle have won 10 of their last 11 league games against Cardiff, with their only failure in that time a 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture in August.
- Cardiff have lost 17 of their last 18 away league games against Newcastle (W1), losing the last nine in a row since a 4-0 win in November 1963.
- In the top-flight, Newcastle have won their last seven home meetings with Cardiff by an aggregate score of 23-0.
- Only Tottenham (38%) have won a lower percentage of their Premier League points in home games this season than Newcastle (39%). However, only Fulham (14%) have won a lower percentage in away games than Cardiff (26%).
- No team in the top four tiers of English football have lost more home league games this season than Newcastle (8).
- Newcastle haven't scored more than once in any of their last nine Premier League games, netting just five goals in total (W1 D3 L5).
- Cardiff are looking to win back-to-back away games in the top-flight for the first time since February 1957, having beaten Leicester in their last Premier League game on the road.
- No team has failed to score in more Premier League games than Cardiff this season (10), with the Bluebirds netting just once in their last four matches.
- A league-high ratio 56% of Newcastle's Premier League goals this season have been headers (9/16).
- As Cardiff manager, Neil Warnock has faced Newcastle three times in all competitions without winning - the only side he's faced more with the Bluebirds without registering a win is Sheffield Wednesday (four times).
This is the biggest game of the weekend. This is huge. A cup final.
I watched Cardiff against Huddersfield and they got battered - it was just that Huddersfield wouldn't have scored in a month of Sundays. Cardiff wouldn't have either, by the way.
Benitez couldn't have done what Neil Warnock has done at Cardiff though. No chance. Warnock is pulling up trees. He's an unbelievable manager.
I'm leaning just towards Newcastle here, who have got superior players to Cardiff. That will be the difference. Imagine if Newcastle lose? There'd be uproar. They simply can't lose this game. And won't.