West Brom v Newcastle United
Live on BBC1. Kick off 5.30pm
It’s been a Summer to forget for the Toon as the club has drifted aimlessley since relegation was confirmed back in May. With Mike Ashley unable to sell the club and seemingly unwilling to appoint a permanent manager there’s little light at the end of the tunnel. The St. James’s Park exodus has included Michael Owen, Mark Viduka, Obafemi Martins and Sebastien Bassong, whilst they remain the only club not to have made a new signing in the Summer. Results on the pitch haven’t been great either. Despite 3 straight wins to kick off their pre-season they’ve since failed to beat Leyton Orient (1-6), Leeds United (0-0) and Dundee United (1-1) so the signs aren’t good for a winning start tomorrow.
Things have been only slightly less turbulent at the Hawthorns. After weeks of speculation Tony Mowbray departed to take over at Celtic and in came Roberto Di Matteo from MK Dons. But the new era hasn’t exactly got off to a flier in pre-season. The Baggies managed just 2 wins in 9 outings and although they say results don’t matter in these games, stats like that must be a concern for the West Brom fans.
It all makes for a tough game to call. In their current predicament no-one n their right mind would back Newcastle. Last season they couldn;t buy a win and if anything they’re a worse team now. Even at 5/2 (Blue Sq, Ladbrokes) there won’t be many takers. At least West Brom have a sense of optimism about them, now they just need to deliver on the pitch. The bookies have them on the right side of evens at 5/4 (Betfred, Jetbull, Paddy Power, SkyBet, VCBet) and with home advantage they look the value call.