Newcastle United will maintain their Premier League status this season. That is the opinion of the club's former striker Michael Owen, who has insisted that he expects the Magpies to stay up this term with or without Spaniard Rafa Benitez.
Former Liverpool manager Benitez is the red hot favourite to replace Steve McClaren as the club's next boss.
McClaren was relieved from his role earlier today after guiding Newcastle to just one victory in their last six league outings, leaving them embroiled in a relegation scrap.
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Indeed, Newcastle currently sit in 19th position in the table - one point behind 17th placed Sunderland.
Newcastle hit a season low after suffering a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Bournemouth last weekend, but Owen expects his former club to maintain their position in England's elite division.
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Taking to Twitter after the dismissal of McClaren, Owen stated: "Rafa in the driving seat to replace McClaren. Whoever takes over, I still expect Newcastle to stay up."
So, what's in store for Benitez? Well, it's clear for all to see that the club have been struggling recently while they have a number of interesting fixtures - including a derby showdown with Sunderland - on the horizon.
Last six results
- Watford 2-1 Newcastle
- Everton 3-0 Newcastle
- Newcastle 1-0 West Brom
- Chelsea 5-1 Newcastle
- Stoke 1-0 Newcastle
- Newcastle 1-3 Bournemouth
Next six fixtures
- Leicester City vs Newcastle
- Newcastle vs Sunderland
- Norwich City vs Newcastle
- Southampton vs Newcastle
- Newcastle vs Swansea
- Liverpool vs Newcastle
Owen may well be confident, but there are many that are not. The arrival of Benitez would hand the club a major boost at this crucial period of the season, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will stay up.
This Newcastle side certainly have talent at their disposal - the club's hierarchy have spent enough money - but they appear to be lacking in direction. Something clearly needs to change and a new manager should alter the dynamic of the side.
Whether that is Benitez or another manager, the job at Newcastle will not be an easy one. In pursuit of redemption, it's going to be a testing period for all involved.
But Newcastle have winnable fixtures to come. It's clear for all to see that away trips to the King Power Stadium and Anfield will prove testing, but they should believe that they can secure the points required against fellow relegation candidates Sunderland, Norwich and Swansea City.
Will Newcastle stay up this season? Have your say below!