Newcastle v West Brom: Patient Magpies to pinch the points

After the postponement of their trip to Aston Villa last week, Newcastle host West Brom on Saturday afternoon in search of back-to-back wins for the first time since June...

Newcastle v West Brom
Saturday December 12, 15:00
Live on Sky Sports

Inconsistent Magpies looking to go back-to-back

Newcastle have been a hard side to predict so far this season. Their Premier League campaign began with a 2-0 win away at West Ham and the last time we saw them they were scooping up another three points in the capital, by beating Crystal Palace by the same score but it's been a mixed bag in-between.

The West Ham win was immediately followed by a disappointing 3-0 drubbing at home to Brighton and they've also lost to Manchester United (1-4) and Chelsea (0-2) at St James' and Southampton away (0-2) but there's been a couple of good results away when the home sides were odds-on to pick up all three points...

Late goals have been the theme for the Magpies this season with 10 of their 12 goals to date scored in the second half and new signing, Callum Wilson, who's bagged seven of their 12, scored in injury time to secure a 1-1 draw away at Spurs at the end of September before Jacob Murphy's 89th minute freekick at Molineux at the end of October earnt them another point courtesy of another 1-1 stalemate.

Newcastle comfortably beat an out-of-form Burnley at St James' Park at the beginning of October and they also beat Everton 2-1 at home on November 1, but it's been an up-and-down season so far and they're yet to win consecutive games.

Last week's Friday night trip to Villa Park was abandoned because of a coronavirus outbreak in the Newcastle camp and we're still in the dark as to who may be affected on Saturday with the Magpies manager, Steve Bruce, understandably keeping his cards close to his chest but provided he isn't losing key players, this is a great opportunity to win again.

Poor Baggies are there for the taking

Newly promoted West Brom began the season as relegation favourites and those that piled it at a shade of odds-against haven't had an awful lot to worry about. The Baggies are now as short as 1.38 and the market still perceives them as the most likely club to be playing Championship football next term.

In five attempts, Slaven Bilic's charges have picked up just one point away from home (1-1 at Brighton) and their sole success of the season came at home 1-0 to the only team below them in the table, Sheffield United.

The stats make for sorry reading and the drop is already starting to look inevitable. So far this season, West Brom have conceded the most goals (23), they have the highest expected goals against total (22.2), they've faced the most shots (167) and shots on target (68) and no team has failed to score in more different Premier League games than West Brom this season (6).

The Baggies scored five goals in their first three league games this season, but they've managed to notch just three in their last eight and the last time we saw them they were on the wrong end of a 5-1 thumping at home to Crystal Palace.

Prior to the Palace game, West Brom has started to show a small amount of promise. They'd only lost 1-0 to both Spurs at home and Manchester United away before beating the Blades and they were certainly in the Palace encounter for most of the first half but everything changed when influential midfielder, Matheus Pereira, was sent off in the 34th minute with the score at 1-1.

Bilic was scathing of his team afterwards, saying they gave up after 3-1, describing it as an "unacceptable second half".

No doubt he'll install some passion ahead of Saturday's encounter but whether they have the wherewithal or the quality to bounce back is debatable.

Side markets offer the value

At first glance, given there have been at least three goals scored in seven of Newcastle's last eight home games, odds of around 2.3 for Over in the Over/Under 2.5 Goals market looked tempting but on closer inspection, a slow burner and a cagey affair looks more likely.

The last three Premier League games involving Newcastle have all ended 2-0 and prior to the 5-1 thumping at home to Palace last week, West Brom had been on a run of eight Premier League games in which no more than two goals were scored. Odds-on for Under 2.5 is correct.

Both teams have scored in five of Newcastle's ten Premier League games to date but in only four of West Brom's 11. Bilic's side have netted just once in their last four on the road so I wouldn't be in a rush to back Yes in the Both Teams to Score market at odds-on but the market I do like is the HT/FT one.

Provided they're up to full strength again, or as near as damn it, the Magpies should prove too strong for the Baggies but it might take a bit of time to see them breakthrough.

As already stated, Newcastle have been the late goal specialists this season. All seven of Callum Wilson's goals for his new club have come in the second half and 50% of Newcastle's goals have been scored right at the death. Wilson has scored after 84, 87, 89, and 97 minutes, and Jacob Murphy and Joelinton have both bagged in the 89th minute. They've only once been in front at half time all season so far and Draw/Newcastle looks the way to go at around 5/1.

Given Bilic is going to have his team fired up after the Palace debacle, I'm a little wary of an early Baggies salvo so West Brom/Draw and West Brom/Newcastle look like sensible savers.

A half time stalemate looks a highly likely outcome, as does another late winner from the Newcastle talisman, Wilson. Combining the draw at half time with Wilson to be the last goalscorer looks like the best way to play the Same Game Multi on the Sportsbook given it pays a juicy £11.15 for a £1 stake.

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