After two weeks away for the dreaded International break, domestic duties return this weekend, as promotion chasing Newcastle United play host to relegation threatened Wigan Athletic.
The game represents a clash between top and bottom, with Saturday’s 3pm kick off at St. James’ Park looking set to be another sell-out.
Newcastle United (Last 5 – W2, D2, L1):
Rafa Benitez’s side have had a mixture of results in their last five outings. Consecutive away wins against promotion rivals Brighton and Huddersfield had the Magpies flying high, but their celebrations were short lived. A 0-0 draw at Reading followed, and then came a comprehensive 3-1 home defeat to the impressive Fulham, with their latest result being another 0-0 draw away to struggling Birmingham City.
Newcastle remain top of the league, but having picked up just one point in their last three outings, they are in need of a victory.
Wigan Athletic (Last 5 – W1, D1, L3):
Wigan sit second bottom of the Championship, 7 points adrift from safety. While the Latics won their last away game, a 1-0 win away to Birmingham City, the goal that day was their only goal in their last five matches, highlighting their worrying form in front of goal.
Their last two games saw successive home defeats to Aston Villa and Bristol City, with the latter seeing Warren Joyce sacked after just four months in charge.
Given the gap between the sides and Wigan’s form in front of goal, a punt on a Newcastle clean sheet could be worth a look once you’ve claimed a betting bonus from somewhere like bettingtop10.com.
Team news & predicted line-ups
Daryl Murphy, Paul Dummett and Grant Hanley appear to have shrugged off knocks sustained over the past two weeks and look set to be included in the squad.
Newcastle United could also be boosted by the return of Isaac Hayden, who has been missing from Rafa’s side in the last nine league games.
Jonjo Shelvey is also expected to return to the line up after being named on the substitutes bench through illness last time out.
Ciaran Clark and DeAndre Yedlin look set to be the only notable absentees for the home side.
Predicted line-up (4-2-3-1)
Darlow – Anita, Hanley, Lascelles, Dummett – Colback, Shelvey – Ritchie, Diame, Gouffran – Gayle
The visitors may be boosted by the return of Alex Gibney, who is back in contention after suffering a serious ankle injury earlier in the season.
Former Newcastle United winger, Gabriel Obertan, may also be handed another start for the Latics on his return to St. James’ Park.
Predicted line-up (4-1-4-1)
Gilks – Connolly, Buxton, Burn, Warnock – Hanson – Jacobs, MacDonald, Morsy, Obertan – Bogle
Newcastle may be without a win in their last two games at St. James’ Park but I’m going for a home win here.
With Dwight Gayle and Jonjo Shelvey back in the starting line-up, I expect to see Newcastle cause Wigan all sorts of problems.
The stakes are high for the Magpies but I back Rafa’s side to rise to the occasion and get the job done against a toothless Wigan.
My prediction: Newcastle United 2-0 Wigan Athletic.