Newcastle United begin a new era under Eddie Howe with a home clash against Brentford at St James’ Park.
Victory could see Newcastle stay 19th in the table but reduce their deficit towards safety to two points, whereas Brentford can go as high as tenth with a win.
Ryan Fraser could be available for Newcastle after recovering from a calf injury which forced him to withdraw from international duty for Scotland.
Paul Dummett (calf) remains ruled out.
Brentford could be without Mathias Jensen after the Danish midfielder missed the latest international round of fixtures, following a positive Coronavirus test.
Yoann Wissa (ankle) and Mathias Jorgensen (muscle) are both doubts but David Raya, Mads Sorensen (both knee), Kristoffer Ajer (hamstring), Josh Dasilva (hip) and Shandon Baptiste (shoulder) remain ruled out
- This is Newcastle’s first Premier League meeting against Brentford, although there has never been a draw in 12 previous meetings in all competitions in this fixture.
- Newcastle have lost just one of their last five meetings against Brentford across all competitions (W1, L4).
- Brentford have won just one of their six previous visits to Newcastle in all competitions (W1, L5)
- Newcastle this season have conceded double the amount of league goals that they’ve scored in 11 league games this season, having netted 12 goals and conceded 24 goals.
- Brentford’s Ivan Toney (66) and Ethan Pinnock (53) have won more aerial battles than any other player this season, having won 119 aerial battles between them in total.
With Howe now in charge and promising an attacking style of play, it will be interesting how Newcastle adjust after almost two weeks of preparation because I can see Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser benefitting given their form under Howe at Bournemouth.
Allan Saint-Maximin and Joe Willock though should add some extra quality down the right flank though even if only one of those two are likely to start, although Howe’s biggest priority has to be shoring up the Magpies’ leaky defence especially if he wants the team to play out from the back.
Brentford though look like a team in defensive freefall without Raya’s presence and especially struggled when stretched at the back last time out against Norwich, although they did improve in the second half and still look dangerous on the attack so I can see them causing issues for a shaky Newcastle defence.
Tactics though will be key for Newcastle and particularly under the glare of a packed home crowd because if their defence doesn’t show quick improvement, Brentford surely will see this as an opportunity to end their losing streak despite Newcastle being their hoodoo club on away form.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-1 Brentford
Result: Newcastle 3-3 Brentford