Few betting slip Nostradmuses will have predicted Aston Villa’s victory at Stoke on the season’s opening day and fewer still will be expecting Newcastle to wipe the smiles off Villanous faces this weekend.
Paul Lambert’s troops narrowly shade 8/5 favouritism, with the draw an 11/5 bet, yet there’s reason to suspect those Magpies can snatch three shiny points in Birmingham, despite a seemingly rotten recent road ledger.
But the Toon Army have witnessed just 11 wins in their last 48 outings on the road you say? Prepare to be convinced…
Last term Newcastle won six of the ten away games before their turn of the year slump.
Alan Pardew’s side sleepwalked their way through five straight away defeats to round off last season’s travelling itinerary.
Yet, before their Yohan Cabaye cash-in-inspired new-year hibernation they had well and truly kicked a habit of rolling over on the road that had seen them record a woeful three wins in 28 attempts during 2012/13.
Only two teams lost more home games than the Villans in 2013/14.
They also shipped more times than anyone bar Fulham and Cardiff.
It was a poorly kept secret that Lambert’s side found the bulk of their joy on the counter attack last term.
The return home is expected temper any perceived upturn in their effectiveness shown against Stoke.
Newcastle are unbeaten in six tussles with their hosts since returning to the top flight, winning four.
The Tynesiders have now landed the spoils in three of their last four meetings with their foes, even toppling them amidst their abominable post-Christmas form last season.
Bolstered with numerous sprightly new attacking options they are well equipped to dismantle a side ill at ease with the front-foot responsibilities home advantage bestows.