Betting preview: Newcastle vs Leeds - Back visitors to pile more misery on Steve Bruce

Steve Bruce probably needs a win more than anyone else in the Premier League right now, but Leeds have their own needs too.

Two clubs in desperate need to get their Premier League seasons up and running meet at St James' Park on Friday, and the stakes feel quite high.

Newcastle and Leeds have just three Premier League points between them and no wins, and both need to generate some positivity before a bad start becomes a season of catch-up and struggle.

There is the added storyline of just how much longer Steve Bruce can hang on at Newcastle with fans calling for the head of the former Manchester United captain.

When, where and how to watch

When: Friday, September 17, 8PM BST

Where: St James' Park

How to watch: Sky Sports

Newcastle vs Leeds best bets

Leeds to win and both teams to score at 13/5

Over 3.5 goals in the game at 6/4

Leeds to win 3-1 at 14/1

(All text odds are correct at time of publication and are subject to change)

Newcastle are still without Martin Dubravka and Jonjo Shelvey for this one, but the real blow would be a continued absence for Callum Wilson.

The Magpies' top - some would argue only - goal-getter suffered a thigh injury a couple weeks ago, although Steve Bruce refused to put a time frame on his return.

That probably leaves Wilson as a major doubt for this game, although there is also a chance he could return.

To make matters worse, summer signing Joe Willock picked up a knock in their 4-1 defeat to Manchester United and will need to be assessed, although he is expected to be okay.

In better news, COVID victim Karl Darlow is ready to return in goal in place of Freddie Woodman.

Leeds will be without Pascal Struijk who starts a three-match ban for the red card he received against Liverpool last week.

Pascal Struijk
Pascal Struijk

That leaves Marcelo Bielsa with a bit of a defensive headache with Luke Ayling the likeliest to shuffle inside from full back.

Deadline day signing Daniel James is pushing for a first start in attack.

Previous meetings

Newcastle 1-2 Leeds (Premier League - January 26, 2021)

It was an entertaining affair in this fixture last season, although one Newcastle probably want to forget.

Raphinha opened the scoring for Leeds midway through the first half, although Newcastle rallied after the break and looked right back in it when Miguel Almiron levelled.

That hope lasted just four minutes, though, with Jack Harrison bagging the winner just past the hour.

Leeds 5-2 Newcastle (Premier League, December 16, 2020)

The scoreline suggests this was a bit of a thrashing, but the reality was it was a tight match with a late Newcastle collapse.

Jeff Hendrick had Newcastle in front in the first half before Patrick Bamford levelled. There was another flurry of activity around the hour too, with Rodrigo scoring first and Ciaran Clark equalising four minutes later.

It stayed relatively tight too until the last 13 minutes when Leeds scored three goals courtesy of Stuart Dallas, Egzjan Alioski and Jack Harrison.

Newcastle vs Leeds head-to-head (Premier League)

Newcastle wins: 11

Draws: 6

Leeds wins: 7

Newcastle goals: 38

Leeds goals: 35

Newcastle reaching tipping point?

Newcastle were chewed up and spat out as Cristiano Ronaldo made his return to the Premier League last weekend.

The Portuguese star scored twice in a 4-1 Manchester United win at Old Trafford, although you feel it was just a case of the Magpies drawing the short straw in terms of the fixtures list.

It was not seen that way on Tyneside, of course, and fairly so, Newcastle fans vented their fury at beleaguered boss Steve Bruce, demanding that he was sacked as manager.

He wasn't, but it's important to acknowledge that Newcastle fans have good reason for their unhappiness with Bruce.

Obviously, the transfer policy is beyond his control and Mike Ashley remains the biggest problem at the club by far.

However, strip all that away and the simple truth is that Bruce's Newcastle play poor, uninspiring football, led by a man who publicly tells fans they should be happy to have it.

Time is ripe for Leeds

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa is not one to hide away from an uncomfortable truth, and he was very vocal about his frustrations after their defeat to Liverpool.

"We were not in charge very often in the game," Bielsa said. "They were superior to us in all aspects.

"I don't know why. I need to know what reasons are. Of course it worries me that we lost 3-0."

In fairness to Leeds and Bielsa, the fixtures computer was not especially kind to them this season. They have already played Manchester United, Everton, and Liverpool, so a fast start was never really likely.

This game is the first in a sequence from which they would expect to pick up some wins, so they will be hoping their season can finally get going.

The fear will be that if they can't do that and their poor start continues, it will create the kind of early season pressure that can ensnare a team for an entire campaign.

Newcastle vs Leeds goalscorer bets

If Newcastle are missing Callum Wilson, then it is genuinely hard to see where the goals are going to come from.

Joelinton would be favourite to lead the line in Wilson's absence, and he is 14/5 to score anytime and 15/2 to open the scoring.

Joe Willock's goals for the Magpies last season were what convinced them to make his transfer permanent, and he is similarly priced as Joelinton to score.

For Leeds, Jack Harrison is always a threat down the left, and wingers can get plenty of joy against Newcastle with the full-back positions arguably being the weakest area of the squad.

He can be backed at 7/1 to score the first goal and that looks pretty decent to us.

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