Newcastle United return to Premier League action after an enforced two week absence as they welcome West Bromwich Albion to St James’ Park.
Depending on results earlier in the weekend, victory could take Newcastle into the top ten whilst West Brom can temporarily climb out of the relegation zone with a win and go 17th in the table.
Ryan Fraser is amongst a host of Newcastle players set to return after the Scottish winger recovered from a hamstring injury.
Jamaal Lascelles (thigh), Andy Carroll, Allan Saint-Maximin (both calf), Dwight Gayle (knee) and Isaac Hayden (Coronavirus) are also in contention to return.
Martin Dubravka (heel) and Paul Dummett (hamstring) remain absent.
West Brom will be without Matheus Pereira after his red card against Crystal Palace was upheld, meaning that the Brazilian will miss the Baggies’ next three matches.
Sam Field (knee) and Jake Livermore (fitness) could return but Hal Robson Kanu (wrist) and Conor Townsend (knee) remain absent.
- Newcastle are unbeaten in four of their last six league meetings against West Brom (W2, D2, L2), of which results if broke into sets of three would both read as WDL.
- West Brom have taken four points from their last five trips to St James’ Park (W1, D1, L3).
- Both teams have had one player sent off each in 22 previous Premier League clashes.
- Coming into this weekend, no goalkeeper has made more punches than Newcastle’s Karl Darlow with ten punches in ten league appearances this season.
- No West Brom player this season has won more aerial battles than Darnell Furlong’s 43 victorious aerial duels in 10 appearances.
After two weeks without a match and having just returned to training on Tuesday, I am expecting Newcastle to be slightly rusty for at least the opening 15 minutes, although their defensive strengths could well help them here like it did at Crystal Palace.
West Brom meanwhile were just defensively poor with ten men against Palace last Sunday after a scrappy opening half hour prior to Pereira’s slightly harsh red card, so must look to score early before Newcastle can hit their usual standards.
Either way, this is going to be a match in which goals will likely come early or late and if the latter, I can see Newcastle taking a win.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-0 WBA
Result: Newcastle 2-1 WBA