The race for the top four is edging towards its conclusion, and Newcastle United are still in pole position heading into the final few games.

Eddie Howe‘s side are still third, but have Manchester United and Liverpool breathing down their neck. The Red Devils are behind on goal difference, while Jurgen Klopp’s side have one point less.

That could become four on Thursday night, with Newcastle taking on Brighton in what could be a season-defining game. If we come out on top, we will be just one victory away from qualifying for the Champions League.

If we lose or draw, we could go into Monday’s game against Leicester outside of the top four. Man United and Liverpool play before us this weekend, meaning they could have the chance to jump above us if we stumble against the Seagulls.

The tension is palpable, but it is something Toon fans will need to get used to. With the direction the club is going in, there should always be something to play for at the business end of the season.

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With three games to go, Newcastle’s place in the top four is under threat, and the pressure cranked up another notch after Liverpool’s win against Leicester on Monday night.

They are the hunters, but former Premier League striker Chris Sutton believes that Manchester United are the side that should be worried about the Reds.

Chris Sutton thinks Newcastle will finish in the top four

Sutton spoke about the race for the top four on BBC Radio 5 Live’s The Monday Night Club, and explained why he thinks Newcastle will be fine.

“I think Liverpool’s hope is catching Manchester United,” he said.

“I just fancy Newcastle. Newcastle have got Leicester for example. Chelsea aren’t great. It’s just a view point. I just think Manchester United aren’t performing brilliantly.”

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Brighton is the banana skin for Newcastle

Sutton makes a good point about Newcastle’s fixtures. Toon fans should be confident about welcoming Leicester to St James’ Park, while a trip to Chelsea on the last day is not as daunting as it once was. They have really struggled this season and will have absolutely nothing left to play for except pride.

The banana skin is the Brighton game, which unfortunately is our next fixture. If we can get through that and put another three points on the board then things will be looking a lot rosier.

The former forward is right though – for all that people think Newcastle are going to be the ones to drop out, Man United haven’t been in great form themselves. They have been far from convincing, although their fixtures don’t look too terrifying either. They’ve got Bournemouth away, then back-to-back home games against Chelsea and Fulham.

Sutton seems to be confident that Newcastle aren’t going to slip up. Let’s pray that he is right.

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