Preview: Newcastle United vs. Cardiff City

Preview: Newcastle vs. Cardiff
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Sports Mole previews Cardiff City's trip to Newcastle as the Bluebirds fight for their Premier League lives against a team who have lost their last six matches.

Cardiff City will enter the Premier League's last-chance saloon on Saturday when they visit Newcastle United.

The Bluebirds are bottom of the table and could be relegated back to the Championship if they fail to win and other results go against them this weekend.

While Cardiff, who are two points from safety with a trip to Stamford Bridge to come, are staring at the trapdoor, Alan Pardew could also be on borrowed time at St James' Park following a run of six consecutive top-flight defeats - Newcastle's worst league run in 27 years.

The latest of these came courtesy of a 3-0 loss at Arsenal on Monday, during which fan protests against the Magpies' lack of progress under the 52-year-old's management were clearly evident.

A victory this weekend in their last home game of the season may calm the Toon Army's concerns and would also condemn Cardiff to the drop, if either Norwich City or Sunderland are winners.

There would be no shortage summer takers for David Marshall, Steven Caulker and Jordan Mutch, who have impressed under difficult circumstances this season and are expected to start on Tyneside.

Caulker could be partnered in central defence by Ben Turner, with Spaniard Cala suspended following the red card that he received in the costly 4-0 defeat at the Stadium of Light four days ago.

Mark Hudson and Craig Noone are also out for the Welsh outfit, whose manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may recall Wilfried Zaha in place of Don Cowie to give them a greater attacking threat from the flanks.

Newcastle's own unpredictable winger, Hatem Ben Arfa, appears to be on his way out of the club after being omitted from the squad that travelled to Arsenal, amid reports of a bust-up with Pardew.

With the Frenchman firmly out of favour and Newcastle's attacking options further limited by injuries to Papiss Cisse and Luuk de Jong, Pardew could name the same side that were brushed aside in London.

Davide Santon is still sidelined and therefore Paul Dummett should continue at left-back, against a Cardiff side that have only won one of their last 15 top-flight matches on their travels.

Newcastle have failed to score in five of their previous six games, and have only found the net once in the 11 matches that top goalscorer, Queens Park Rangers loanee Loic Remy, has missed this season.

Recent form

Newcastle: LLLLLL

Cardiff: LDWLDL

Possible starting lineups

Newcastle: Krul; Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett; Tiote, Anita, Gosling; Sissoko, Gouffran, Remy

Cardiff: Marshall; Theophile-Catherine, Caulker, Turner, Fabio; Zaha, Medel, Whittingham, Mutch; Daehli; Campbell

Sports Mole says: 1-1

Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United heads in the first goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match against Bayern Munich on April 1, 2014
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City98103242825
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd96212241820
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs85211551017
4Chelsea95131710716
5Arsenal95131712516
6Watford94321517-215
7Newcastle UnitedNewcastle9423108214
8Liverpool83411312113
9Burnley934289-113
10Southampton933389-112
11Huddersfield TownHuddersfield9333710-312
12Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton9324910-111
13West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom9243710-310
14Leicester CityLeicester92341214-29
15Swansea CitySwansea9225610-48
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham9225817-98
17Stoke CityStoke92251020-108
18Everton9225718-118
19Bournemouth9216613-77
20Crystal Palace9108219-173
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