Oxford v Newcastle: League One side can keep it tight again

Dan Fitch is not expecting many goals when an well organised Oxford side host a Newcastle team that are struggling to score.

Oxford 3.60 v Newcastle 2.10; The Draw 3.60
Tuesday 4 February, 20:05
Live on BBC One

Oxford could graduate from League One

Oxford have earned themselves a glamour tie against Premier League opposition and will hope that home advantage helps them to progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Karl Robinson's side drew 0-0 against Newcastle at St James' Park in the fourth round and their reward is a replay that will be shown live on terrestrial TV. Oxford have beaten Hayes & Yeading, Walsall and Hartlepool to reach this stage, in a season in which they have also done well in League One.
The U's are currently eighth and are only three points away from a play-off position. Robinson took charge of the club in March last year, when Oxford were just outside the relegation zone. Having secured an unlikely top half finish last season, Robinson now has a chance of winning promotion from League One, just as he did with MK Dons back in 2014-15.
Oxford will be without the injured Anthony Forde who is recovering from a punctured lung and Ben Woodburn, with the on-loan Liverpool forward having broken his foot in December.

Magpies fail to shine but still steal points

Newcastle have reason to be annoyed with themselves for having to face this away replay, during what should be a period of rest, but overall they should be happy with how their season is going.
The Magpies were widely expected to be fighting against relegation. The appointment of Steve Bruce in the summer was derided and his squad looked short of quality. To be 12th in the Premier League with only 13 games of the season remaining, is therefore an achievement to be proud of.
Bruce has had to take an extremely pragmatic approach to keep the club safe. He has very limited goalscoring options, so has built a side that look to defend in numbers first and score goals from set pieces. It's not very pretty, but it's hard to argue that it hasn't been a relatively successful approach.
This is especially true when you consider the amount of injuries that Bruce has had to contend with. Emil Krafth, Javier Manquillo, Jetro Willems, Paul Dummett, Jonjo Shelvey, Yoshinori Muto, Andy Carroll and Dwight Gayle are all currently out.

Newcastle keep drawing in unbeaten run

Newcastle are the 2.14 favourites to win, with the draw at 3.60 and Oxford at 3.60.
Though the Premier League side have to be favoured, they look far too short at this price. Bruce seems set to field a strong team, but Newcastle have drawn five of their last seven matches (W2) and that's where the value lies at 3.60. This run includes an away draw at League One side Rochdale in the last round of the FA Cup, before winning the replay 4-1.

Another low scoring game for Newcastle

Where there is definite value to be found is in the goals markets. Newcastle's 0-0 draw away at Oxford was followed by another goalless draw at the weekend, at home to Norwich.
It's a surprise then to see that under 2.5 goals is the outsider at 2.04Under 1.5 goals is 3.90 and has paid out in three of Newcastle's last four games.
In that sequence of matches, Newcastle have only scored a total of three goals, which have all been scored in stoppage time. With only one team conceding less goals in League One than Oxford this season, the 0-0 half-time score is another bet to consider at 3.20.

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