Why Toon should triumph (just) in do or die dogfight

Huw Davies peruses the PowerTable stats ahead of Monday night's do-or-die relegation dogfight... 

St. James' Park hosts the biggest six-pointer of the season as Newcastle take on Middlesbrough.

It looks unlikely that both teams can survive, so expect no love lost in this battle of the North East.

And with both rivals three points adrift of safety and facing difficult run-ins, neither will be happy with a repeat of the return fixture's goalless draw at the Riverside.

The stats show that it's the Magpies who hold the edge in what could be a firecracker of a contest.

And despite their unhappy league position, the Toon are proficient scorers on their own territory – ranked joint 11th on goalscoring at home.

Middlesbrough, meanwhile, have kept only one clean sheet away from the Riverside.

And although the Toon have the worst home record in the Premier League after Hull, and have taken only three points from their last six home games, they face a Boro team that has lost its last 10 away games in the league.

The last time Gareth Southgate's side even picked up a point on their travels was way back in November. That they could set a club record for most away losses on the bounce will be preying on their minds, even if this encounter is just a 40 mile trip.

Boro's problem this season is that they can't play for 90 minutes.

Away from that comforting home soil, they concede more than a third of their goals in the last 15 minutes, and in the 10 matches they've been drawing at half-time, they've lost seven.

They're certainly regretting those dropped points now.

Overall, a badly-needed home win for Alan Shearer's men is on the cards, meaning more grief for Gareth Southgate.

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