Newcastle are back in Premier League action after a Covid-19 outbreak saw their game at Aston Villa postponed last week.
The fans are still unhappy with their performances and style of play under Steve Bruce, but they did win last time out thanks to two late goals at Crystal Palace. Newcastle currently sit 15th and well clear of the relegation zone and their 14-point haul after 10 matches is two more than they had at the same stage of the past two seasons combined.
Coronavirus will mean a depleted Newcastle today though. Bruce said he will be without “a big chunk” of first team regulars but would not reveal the identities of the players affected by the virus which has swept through the club’s training ground. Matt Ritchie could be pushing for a recall after returning to the bench for the win at Crystal Palace following a shoulder injury.
There was a lot to like about West Brom’s performances in narrow defeats against Tottenham and Manchester United (they were particularly unfortunate with some of the officiating at Old Trafford) but a 5-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace last week was disastrous. Creative midfielder Matheus Pereira was sent off in that game and will miss today’s trip to Newcastle through suspension.
“With VAR, everything goes against us. Every decision,” manager Slaven Bilic said this week.
“There is not one of them, not two of them, not five of them. I don’t know how many? Eight is it or more than eight? It is a lot.”
West Brom have the division’s worst records for goals conceded (23), shots faced (167) and shots on target against (68).
With Newcastle potentially weakened and West Brom looking vulnerable, this is a presentable chance for three points for both teams. Team news on the way shortly.