Premier League: Newcastle United- West Bromwich Albion
United are in trouble, every team at the foot of the table apart from doomed Burnley and QPR are picking up their game, whilst the Magpies are in freefall both on and off the pitch and have lost eight in a row and now sit just two points above the drop zone. Almost to a man, any neutral who has seen them recently has highlighted them as currently the worst team in the EPL and whilst the balance sheet might say differently, this is a club in a tailspin and it is going to be very hard to address, especially when some players have looked less than bothered, something which even the interim head coach could not stop himself from mentioning to the great pleasure of the media last week. They have since been on a damage limitation exercise with supporters, but they are a club getting everything wrong at present.
Albion arrive in good form , three straight wins, all with clean sheets and on the "magical" points tally of 40, which should be more than enough to secure survival. However, it should be remembered that they themselves looked very suspect, conceding ten goals in three starts, including seven in two at home to clubs in the drop zone, before a recent temper tantrum from boss Tony Pulis awoke them from their lethargy. Maybe the John Carver comments last week will do likewise for United, but they are going to have to find some goals to do so, as defensively they do not look able to stop anyone at present and they have condeded 23 in 10, three in each of their last three starts. On the plus side, they do usually score here at St James' Park, with a goal in 16 of their last 19 home EPL starts. The last nine h2h meetings in the North East have all gone "over" with both teams scoring in eight and that is how I see this playing out, United seem incapable of a clean sheet and I think Albion have massively overperformed defensively and four clean sheets in a row, for all but the best in this toughest of leagues is unusual. They have scored ten goals in their last five visits though and will get chances today.
"over" 2.5 goals 2.23 asian line/Sportmarket.