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Premier League Preview: Newcastle United v Cardiff City

1 May 2014 18:33

Cardiff City could be relegated this weekend if they fail to beat out-of-sorts Newcastle United and results elsewhere go against them.

Joyous celebrations followed Cardiff's promotion to the top tier of English football just over 12 months ago, after a 51-year absence, but the club are now on the verge of an immediate return to the Championship.

Having waited so long to get a first taste of Premier League football, Cardiff know failure to beat a Newcastle side that are enduring a dismal run of form could spell the end of their short stay in the top flight.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men will be down if they lose at St James' Park and one of Sunderland, Norwich City or Fulham, who face Manchester United, Chelsea and Stoke City respectively, win.

Should Cardiff draw, a Sunderland or Norwich victory would be enough to condemn the Welsh side to relegation.

A 4-0 thrashing at Sunderland last Sunday ensured Cardiff dropped to the foot of the table with two games remaining and they return to the north-east on Saturday in a perilous position.

Norweigan boss Solskjaer stated that he was taking the Cardiff job with "clear and open eyes" when he was appointed at the turn of the year, but must have found it difficult to watch his side being put to the sword at the Stadium of Light.

And he is sure to face a tense afternoon with so much at stake at St James' Park this weekend.

Solskjaer admitted after the hammering at Sunderland that his club have a "mountain to climb", but is optimistic that two wins will keep them up.

With Chelsea providing the opposition at the Cardiff City Stadium on the final day, last season's Championship winners face a stiff task even if they add to Newcastle's woes this weekend.

Newcastle's miserable form continued when they were beaten 3-0 at Arsenal on Monday and they have now suffered six defeats in a row.

Alan Pardew's side have scored just one goal in the process and will be determined to secure an elusive win in their final home game of the season.

Pardew was unable to mastermind a victory on his return to the touchline at Arsenal following a ban for head-butting Hull City midfielder David Meyler.

So the former Southampton boss will be eager to make his presence felt when he is back in the technical area at St James' Park for the first time since February.

Although Pardew was the target of fan disapproval at the Emirates Stadium, he stated this week that he sees his long-term future at Newcastle.

And the 52-year-old has warned Cardiff that his side still have plenty to play for.

He said: "It's a massive game for us.

"If Cardiff fans think, 'Newcastle are in the top 10 – what have they got to worry about'? – well, we have got a lot to worry about after the recent run. It's as big a game for us as it is for them."

Cardiff's cause is not helped by the absence of Spanish defender Juan Cala, who was sent off just before half-time at Sunderland and has since been charged with improper conduct after being involved in an alleged incident around the tunnel area after the game.

Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa is expected to be omitted after speaking of his frustration at being overlooked by Pardew, but striker Luuk de Jong (ankle) is set to return.

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