After a nightmare start to the season, Rafa Benitez has stated that in order to avoid relegation, Newcastle must ‘try to find three teams worse‘.
It’s a worrying statement from the Newcastle manager.
It implies Benitez has already accepted that his squad are one of the worst in the league.
And with the team currently bottom of the Premier League table with two points, it’s hard to argue with him.
The Toon have a run of winnable fixtures in their next few matches, but after losing to Brighton on Saturday, confidence will be at an all time low.
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If performances don’t improve, Rafa’s comment may well be the last viable option for the team.
But the troubling thing is, there may not be three squads worse than Newcastle in the Premier League.
Which teams will be in the relegation battle this season?
Huddersfield – three points
Huddersfield are one of the favourites to go down with only three points in their first nine fixtures.
They suffer from a lack of options up front and have only managed four goals this season, the least of any team.
They’re also conceding a fair few goals, their goal difference of -14 being the joint worst in the Premier League.
While Newcastle may be in a rotten vein of form, they have a much better squad than Huddersfield.
You’d be hard pressed to name a Huddersfield player other than Aaron Mooy and it would be a real shock if The Terriers managed to beat the drop this season.
Cardiff – five points
Newly promoted Cardiff looked certs to be relegated after failing to score a goal in their first three fixtures.
One of these was against Newcastle, where Kenedy’s late penalty was saved by keeper Neil Etheridge to sneak a point.
The Blues are slowly starting to show goal scoring form at home, but can’t seem to turn those goals into results.
This is mostly due to an unstable defence which concedes it fair share of goals.
A 4-2 win against Fulham this weekend has improved their points tally, but the Welsh side still look destined to go down.
Fulham – five points
With former Toon striker Aleksandar Mitrovic scoring for fun in recent weeks, Fulham looked like another promoted team who would survive in the league.
The London outfit made great signings this summer. As well as Mitro, both World Cup winner Andre Schurrle and Atletico Madrid’s Luciano Vietto arrived on loan and added plenty of attacking threat.
But Fulham seem to have a serious problem with their back line. They’ve conceded a whopping 25 goals so far, the most of any team.
And after a promising start, their current defensive form has seen them plummet down the table.
So bad is the rate at which their conceding, that they have the joint-worst goal difference at -14, despite having scored 11 goals this season, more than nine other teams.
It’s safe to say if they cant turn things around, then Fulham will be battling relegation come the end of the season.
Southampton – six points
Mark Hughes was brought in at the end of last season to save The Saints from relegation and was able to guide them to safety.
It was an odd appointment at the time considering he’d been sacked by Stoke City earlier in the year. But Hughes proved doubters wrong, and was awarded with a three year contract at St Mary’s.
But Southampton’s woes from last season continue. The team no doubt have a strong spine in midfield and in that sense they are very similar to Newcastle.
But much like Newcastle, they majorly struggle for goals.
Danny Ings signed on loan from Liverpool to solve that problem and there’s still time for the forward to make an impact.
But The Saints seem to be relying on him too much for for results.
If he can’t bag them goals, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Southampton among the strugglers.