Michael Owen has been talking about Newcastle United.
Eddie Howe and his team travelling to Elland Road this weekend for their 21st Premier League match of the season.
Up against a Leeds side that has bounced back from only three wins in their first eighteen PL games this season, to then win their last two matches.
Michael Owen describing it as a ‘huge win’ for Marcelo Bielsa’s team after they followed up a 3-1 home victory over Burnley, with a shock 3-2 win at West Ham last weekend.
Owen saying it gives Leeds ‘breathing room’ and indeed, they are suddenly nine points above the relegation zone and ten points ahead of Newcastle United, as you can see from this updated Premier League table ahead of this weekend’s matches:
With Watford grabbing an 88th minute equaliser last weekend, Michael Owen describes it as a ‘familiar story all season for Newcastle’, conceding after scoring the opening goal. He predicts Newcastle United to keep on doing what they do best (well unless you include losing!) and to pick up their tenth draw of the season in this Leeds match, only Brighton with 11 have drawn more matches than NUFC.
A more strange comment, which other pundits often come out with, is ‘I never worry about them [Newcastle] scoring goals…’
Well, I’m afraid that I worry a lot about Newcastle scoring goals, or rather, not scoring them!
In 21 matches (all competitions) since the opening day of the season, only in three of the 21 have Newcastle scored more than one goal. There isn’t a high proportion of football matches that finish only 1-0 and certainly not Newcastle ones this season, especially with our defending! At the bottom end, only Norwich and Burnley have scored less goals than the feeble 20 in 20 games that Newcastle have managed. Wolves the only other Premier League club to also score less goals, they have very few goals in their games with only 17 scored and 15 conceded so far this season, 63 goals in Newcastle’s games, almost double the 32 in Wolves matches.
We all hope for better defending and the likes of Kieran Trippier and hopefully other new signings will help with that. However, I think that unless Newcastle start scoring two or more in a significant number of matches, we aren’t going to see many NUFC wins.
As it happens, Elland Road has been good to Newcastle United over recent decades, with the last 18 competitive matches there, seeing ten Newcastle wins, three draws and only five defeats, a record that stretches back to include the 1977/78 season, when despite beating Leeds home and away, Newcastle were relegated.
The last six visits have seen four wins and a draw but unfortunately the other and most recent match saw a 5-2 hammering for NUFC under Steve Bruce.
Since 1957 there has been only one goalless draw between Leeds and Newcastle, whether at St James Park or Elland Road, I think we can safely predict that we won’t be seeing one of those on Saturday. Michael Owen’s prediction is 2-2 and with two of the three worst defences (Newcastle conceding 43 and Leeds conceding 39) I would guess that four goals may well be on the low side when guessing how many will be scored by the two teams in total. Here’s hoping this is the start of run of form where Newcastle United are regularly scoring two or more per game.
Michael Owen Michael Owen speaking to BetVictor:
“That was a huge win for Leeds last weekend against West Ham.
“Jack Harrison took his goals superbly.
“It’s given Bielsa’s side a bit of breathing room above the drop and they’ll be hoping to build on it in the next couple of weeks.
“As for Newcastle, Eddie Howe must have been gutted to not hold on for all three points.
“It’s been a familiar story all season for Newcastle.
“I never worry about them scoring goals, but they don’t keep clean sheets.
“They’ve got the fewest clean sheets in the league, just one all season.
“I think there will be goals here, I don’t trust either to keep a clean sheet.
“I’m going for an entertaining 2-2 draw.”