So if you’ve got one team that’s scored five goals all season and one team that’s played nine more competitive matches than the other what can you expect when they meet? Not a whole lot to be honest! Expectations for a cracking game here are low so finding some good value bets in this awful TV pick is probably where the highlight will come for us.
Newcastle’s five league goals this season have come over the course of nine games. They’ve managed to match that with an xG of 5.0, which implies Newcastle have been playing at their level, and can expect to score at this rate for the rest of the season. If they do keep this up, then they can expect to equal Derby county’s 07/08 record of 20 goals scored in 38 games.
That’s how bad it is at Newcastle, there is literally no lower bar.
Newcastle’s only clean sheets so far have come from wins against Spurs (A) and United (H) and the draw with Brighton. The Toon played with a 5-4-1 formation that had brought the team so much success last year and looked genuinely solid at the back, even if they offered little up front.
However Schar is unlikely to start, Carroll has joined him in the physio room and Dwight Gayle is fit again. This should be a rare nugget of good news for the Geordies but it could be just the opposite if Bruce changes formation to accommodate the striker who scored 24 goals for West Brom last season.
Wolves have looked better recently, winning their last three away ties against Beşiktaş, City and Slovan Bratislava. With Jimenez and Cutrone up front and Traoré and Jonny supporting them on the wings, they are a seriously threating team going forward. But Wolves have already drawn 1-1 four times in the Prem this season, and three of those draws came after Europa League ties. They’ve already played nine games more than Newcastle this season, and you’ve got to ask, what sort of effect will this have on their energy levels?
So where’s the value?
If Bruce sticks with the tried and tested 5-4-1, we can comfortably expect jack all to happen, so in that case, I’m tipping up no goalscorer at 11/2.
But, if Bruce tries to be clever again and plays any other formation, I’d be much happier sticking my money on Wolves to win at 6/4. And then if Jimenez, Cutrone or Traoré are all confirmed in the starting lineup, I’d take the Wolves -1 handicap bet at 9/2 too.