One of football’s most alluring traits is its ability to surprise. Wimbledon winning the FA Cup, Porto winning the Champions League, Greece being crowned champions of Europe, all deliciously unexpected outcomes.
Not quite on the same scale, but still something of a shock, has been the start that Newcastle have made to the current season.
Having sold some of their most influential players over the last year, the Magpies were being billed by many, myself included, as possible candidates for relegation, yet after seven games they remain unbeaten with 15 points from a possible 21, occupying the final Champions League spot.
On selling Andy Carroll in January for a British record transfer fee, the Toon faithful were promised that the money would be re-invested in players during the summer. What they got was Demba Ba.
One or two eyebrows were raised when they acquired the services of the nomadic Senegalese striker from West Ham, but with four goals in his last two games he is flying and those looking to invest their money in a Newcastle player in the goalscoring market should back him at all costs at 5/1 to break the deadlock at St James Park.
They love a good cult hero on Tyneside and if Ba keeps up his scoring record he could be on his way to achieving the status reached by the two centre backs Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini.
Speaking of those two, although neither man has opened his account this season, both have shown themselves in the past to be more than capable of finding the net.
Indeed, Taylor scored in each of Newcastle’s final three games of last season. He is priced at 22/1 to score first with Coloccini at 25/1 and you could do a lot worse than use your spare change to back one of them on Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Spurs possess goal threats throughout the team. With Emmanuel Adebayor struggling to be fit for the game, Harry Redknapp may well choose to opt for a partnership of Jermaine Defoe and Rafael van der Vaart up front.
Both are priced at 7/1 to score first although for serious punters the fact that both men are available at 17/10 to score at any time in the match looks too good to turn down.
For those looking for a bit more value, there is a certain Welsh winger who is well worth remembering.
Gareth Bale scored an excellent trademark goal for his national side away to Bulgaria this week, and is an attractive 12/1 to net first on Sunday.
When Bale is on form he does not do things by halves. His hat-trick at the San Siro against Inter Milan last season was genuinely world class, and while there is no logical reason for suggesting that he will repeat that feat against Newcastle this weekend, the price of 150/1 for him to score three or more at St James’ seems eye-catching as the young Welshman is due a big goal-scoring performance in the Premier League.
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