It's like deja vu all over again. Two years ago to the match-week, Newcastle United and QPR played the penultimate match of the 2012-13 season at Loftus Road. Newcastle United had not yet secured safety for the 2013-14 season yet and were coming off of a ship-righting draw. QPR, for their part, were already relegated. When Newcastle travel to London this for this weekend's fixture at Loftus Road, the table is set exactly the same. John Carver's men have yet to secure safety for 2014-15. QPR are already down. Will history repeat itself?
On the day in 2013, Hatem Ben Arfa and Yoan Gouffran provided the goals in a come from behind victory with a post-match poll awarding the Man of the Match to former Chelsea defender Jose Boswinga who conceded the penalty that was converted by HBA and also was the instigator for the goal that would end up keeping Newcastle up, short-legging a back pass to Rob Green whose clearance would ultimately fall for Yoan Gouffran to slot home.
The match led me to use this rather embarrassing headline:
QPR 1 -2 Newcastle United: Newcastle Go To London, Earn A Few Quick Bob
Regardless, on the heels of their first point in months, Newcastle will be hoping to earn the victory that will see them all but clear of the relegation zone.
Hull City are facing a trip to Tottenham this weekend, and the easiest, most straight ahead route to safety is if Newcastle win and Hull lose. In this eventuality, Newcastle are fully safe for the match v. West Ham. If Hull lose to Spurs, and Newcastle draw with QPR, it will go down to the last match of the season with NUFC facing West Ham and Hull facing Manchester United (with the potential that Sunderland could get caught up in this whole scrap). If Hull draw and Newcastle win, Newcastle are safe. If Hull draw and Newcastle draw, things are hairy as well.
If Newcastle return to losing ways while Hull beat Spurs... well, it's best not to think about all that. A Newcastle loss and Hull draw would set up a "best result stays up" situation where a draw by both teams on the final day of the season could see Newcastle down on goal difference.
The wild card in all of this is Sunderland, who have a match in hand. Their run in goes Leicester (H), Arsenal (A), Chelsea (A). If Leicester keep their torrid end of season run going while Arsenal and Chelsea taking care of business things could get very interesting indeed.
Ultimately, it is down to the lads to get the three points from this weekend. One of Leicester or Sunderland (or both if they draw) are going to drop points relative to a NUFC win which would see either of them drop below Newcastle ... so long as Newcastle win.
At the end of the day, history will not present itself to Newcastle, its coach or its players. It is up to them to go out and seize the opportunity. If they have any professional pride stored up from the embarrassing results that got us into this situation, they will put it all out there and do what needs to be done at Loftus Road. Just win, baby.