Newcastle have shown they can compete with the teams around them this season, but need to find some joy against the Premier League’s biggest clubs.

So far this season, the Magpies have taken just two points off teams in the top half, drawing at home with both Liverpool and Burnley.

Rafa Benitez’s side have done the business against the teams around them, going unbeaten against West Ham, Stoke, Crystal Palace and Swansea home and away, but just picking up points off the bottom half clubs might not be enough.

Recent draws with Palace and Swansea have only heightened Newcastle’s need to go up against the Premier League’s elite clubs and take some points off them. Had those two draws been turned into wins, Newcastle would be sitting five points clear from the relegation zone,  which would lift the pressure off the players immensely.

Newcastle still need to play Huddersfield, Southampton and West Brom at home, but victories in those games might not be enough to secure survival.

Therefore, Benitez will need to find a way of taking points off the big boys, starting on Sunday against Manchester United, where Jose Mourinho’s win-less record at St James’ Park will be on the line once again.

After passing up potential victories in weeks gone by against teams around them, Newcastle must do all they can to get something against the juggernauts of the division, otherwise it could be Championship football next season.

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