21st December 2012
The last few years have been a real rollercoaster ride for Newcastle United, who find themselves in the relegation six-pointer some seven months after the fifth-place finish in the Premier League. QPR may be huge seven points behind their next opponents, but they go into this match high on confidence having finally recorded the first league win of the season.
Some would say that things started going from bad to worse for Newcastle from the moment Alan Pardew was handed a record-breaking eight-year contract at St James Park, but the reality is other reasons have contributed to team’s downfall. The pressure of expectations might have made the players’ job a bit more difficult, but it was numerous injuries to the key players that stopped the Magpies in their tracks. The creative flair of Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa has been sorely missed in the first part of the league campaign, while Steven Taylor, Ryan Taylor, Haris Vuckic and Gabriel Obertan could have also helped. After losing six of their last seven league games, Newcastle sit just two points above the bottom three and desperately need to defeat QPR in order to kick-start this season. That will be no easy task given that Cabaye, Ben Arfa, S. Taylor, R. Taylor and Vuckic remain sidelined, although at least Gabriel Obertan should be available. Injury to James Perch has given Alan Pardew a real headache before what could prove to be the most important match of the season.
Queens Park Rangers have just ended the worst start in the Premier League history, having recorded their first win in Gameweek 17, but the most important thing is Rs are still within a touching distance of safety. An inspired performance from immensely talented Adel Taarabt proved enough for a 2-1 triumph over Fulham, but everybody at the club is aware the team need to continue winning if they are to save this season. This is clearly the right time to be facing Newcastle considering that the Magpies are completely out of form and missing quite a few first team regulars, so we can certainly expect the visitors to try and win at St James Park. Their back line will be missing two important players as both Julio Cesar and Jose Bosingwa are sidelined through injury, as are Bobby Zamora, Andy Johnson, Park Ji-Sung and Kieron Dyer.
This shouldn’t be one of those dull relegation six-pointers that rarely produce more than one or two goals, since both Newcastle and QPR are suckers for attacking football. Therefore, there is every chance we will see an entertaining encounter and quite a few goals at St James Park.
Verdict: Over 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 1/1