I believe Newcastle are a better side than their league position and odds to win the game suggests and I’ll be backing McClaren’s men with confidence to take all three points.
Aston Villa 2.40 v West Brom 3.55; The Draw 3.30
Aston Villa were very impressive for 60 minutes at Leicester on Sunday but undoubtedly they should have shut-up shop when two goals in front. Instead Tim Sherwood made the bizarre decision to take off midfielder Carles Gil and replace him with a recognised striker in Jordan Ayew.
But we all know that’s how Sherwood operates, he’s a very attack-minded manager and it’s a trait/naivety/stubbornness (call it what you like) that could cost Villa their Premier League status.
Villa have taken just one point since their opening day victory at Bournemouth and in their last four league and cup games – against Leicester, Sunderland, Notts County, and Crystal Palace – they’ve conceded an alarming 10 goals.
West Brom haven’t hit top gear yet but their two defeats this term were to Chelsea and Man City, so no real disgrace there. In their four other league and cup games you won’t be surprised to learn that for a team managed by Tony Pulis they haven’t conceded a single goal.
The Baggies are struggling to find the back of the net themselves but if they can keep it tight once more in this West Midlands derby then they are sure to get a chance or two against a leaky Villa defence. At the current odds I’m willing to take a chance on Pulis’ men.
Back West Brom to Win @ 3.55
Bournemouth 1.75 v Sunderland 5.60; The Draw 3.90
I think this is a clash between two poor sides who for me will be in and around the bottom six all season. So to see Bournemouth available at odds-on, and not just marginal odds-on either, is very surprising.
Granted, I haven’t seen much of Eddie Howe’s men but they lost at home to a poor Villa side on the opening day of the season, they were gifted at least three goals in their victory at West Ham yet still conceded three times, they failed to win at home again against Leicester, and they were then put well in their place by Norwich last Saturday, a side that finished below the Cherries last season.
Bournemouth’s best performance this term came at Anfield when they were very unfortunate to lose to Liverpool, but it’s a lot easier to raise your game for those huge TV clashes against a big club than it is for a game against a relegation candidate that you’re expected to beat.
There’s no denying that Sunderland’s defending has been shocking this season and that the Cherries have to be favourites to win this one given they are at Dean Court, but I just can’t back the home side at odds-on.
The Black Cats performed a lot better against Tottenham on Sunday, in fact Jermain Defoe could easily have scored one or two against his former club before Spurs finally made the breakthrough, and if Dick Advocaat‘s men can repeat that performance at the weekend then I fancy they’ll avoid defeat at least.
Lay Bournemouth to Win @ 1.76