Newcastle United face the prospect of slipping outside of the top 10 if they lose consecutive games, when Swansea visit on Saturday.
Alan Pardew’s men have struggled to replicate last season’s form, which saw them finish fifth – just five points shy of a UEFA Champions League place.
After their disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to West Ham, Newcastle occupy 10th spot through 11 games.
They are 11 points worse off this season than they were at the same stage last season.
Newcastle opened the previous campaign with an 11-game unbeaten streak, a run that saw them trail Manchester United by a solitary point.
Pardew knows yet another defeat on Saturday could severely hamper their quest for a top-10 finish.
“This is a big game now,” Pardew said.
“We’ve put ourselves in a position where we don’t want to be in mid-table.
“We want to threaten the top half of the league. The West Ham result has knocked us back a bit.”
Swansea, on the other hand, are on track to better their 11th placing.
The Welsh outfit have tasted defeat just once in five league games and are one point adrift of Newcastle.
Swansea seem to have made a steady transition from old boss Brendan Rodgers, to manager Michael Laudrup.
Following a run of three consecutive defeats, Swansea have returned to their brilliant best, claiming a point at home to Chelsea, while they were unfortunate to leave Etihad Stadium empty handed against defending champions Manchester City.
However, history is against Laudrup’s men in this particular fixture, as they have never defeated Newcastle in four previous meetings.
On the injury front, Newcastle’s chances should be given a boost when tough-tackling midfielder Cheick Tiote returns from a three-match ban, however captain Fabriccio Coloccini is still suspended.
Swansea defender Chico Flores could return after two weeks out with a thigh injury but Kyle Bartley and goalkeeper Michel Vorm will not be back until the Christmas period.