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3 Potentially Pivotal Fixtures For Newcastle United In 2017 – Brighton Game Going To Be A Cracker

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Rafael Benitez

Following their 1-0 loss to Sheffield Wednesday on boxing day, Newcastle United are now off the top spot on the Championship log, with Brighton and Hove establishing a 2-point lead at the top after securing a 3-0 win over QPR on Tuesday.

The loss was the Magpies 6th of the season, and it isn’t likely to be their last considering there is still a whole new round of return legs – 23 games to go.

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Whatever happens, Newcastle can’t afford to drop down to the promotion playoff zone, and though they are 6 points clear now, just 2 losses could see them throw away that automatic promotion spot.

Getting back to the top and emerging title winners would be Rafa Benitez’s desire now, and that’s also possible. However, there are clashes that could determine if that happens in the long run or not, and here are 3 potentially pivotal fixtures in 2017 that could have a very big say in Newcastle United’s Championship campaign.

Brighton vs Newcastle – 28th January

This is definitely set to be a top of the table clash between the 2, considering they should have been able to navigate through the first 4 games of the new year successfully without dropping off the top 2 spots.

Regardless of whichever of them are topping the league at this point, this clash is a must-win for Newcastle for many reasons.

The most important being picking up all 3 points in order to either reduce the deficit or equal the points if they are trailing at the time, or gain at least a 3-point advantage and remain clear of their closest and most challenging rivals for the top prize if they have somehow managed to regain their lead by this point.

Brighton have lost just twice thus far, and both defeats came back-to-back, against Newcastle and Brentford over 3 months ago. They have won 4 of their last 5 matches and are currently in the form of their lives having conceded the least goals (14) and scored 3rd most goals (38).

This is going to be a cracker.

Huddersfield Town vs Newcastle – 4th March

Huddersfield were the surprise leaders for a moment at the beginning of the season, and that temporary rise came about when they won 7 of their first 10 matches of the campaign, including the clash against Newcastle on matchday 2.

Since then, Huddersfield have lost just 5 more matches and currently sit in 4th position on the log. They have got a great chance of earning promotion by winning the playoffs and will do everything to remain there till the season ends. That includes defeating Newcastle again when they clash at the John Smith’s Stadium in March.

Their home ground has been a sort of a fortress, as they have lost only twice there and it could be a very tough encounter for Newcastle. Anything apart from a win here and it could be big trouble for Rafa Benitez’s side.

Newcastle vs Fulham – 11th March

Fulham have been very hard to beat this season, losing just 5 games – the 2nd least, and are edging closer to that playoff zone as they are just 4 points shy.

They have only suffered 2 defeats on the road and are a high-scoring side as they have the joint-2nd most goals thus far. Newcastle haven’t been particularly solid at the back and will likely very much concede again against the team that handed them their first loss on their return to the division on matchday 1.

They have only lost twice in the last 10 appearances and are very much likely to have gotten more tougher to beat come March 11 with just some 9 games to the end of the season, as the battle to clinch one of the playoff spots would be very intense by then.

This game could be a must-win for Newcastle, as a victory or loss will very much likely have a big say in the title and promotion race.