In our latest Shouting the Odds feature, Jamie Clark represents Newcastle, while Josh Powell highlights Blackburn’s credentials ahead of this weekend’s big Premier League clash between the pair. Trying to keep the peace is news.bwin.com/en/ editor Chris Bryant. You can read a full betting preview of this match here.
CB: Blackburn caused a real stir last week with that win over the Gunners, didn’t they? What price a victory on the road now for Steve Kean?
JP: Amid the chaos of a fan petition and then a protest, Kean guided Rovers to a hard fought draw against Fulham at Craven Cottage, followed by the Arsenal success and a 3-2 win over Leyton Orient in the Carling Cup. Rovers’ momentum is building and confidence is high, and that is priceless in football. At 7/2 to win, Blackburn are great value to continue their good streak, in my opinion.
JC: There’s no denying Newcastle’s record against Blackburn has been poor in recent times. You have to go back to December 2006 for a Toon triumph over Rovers. But the last time they met, in February, Alan Pardew stopped the rot after six straight defeats with a goalless draw. The Magpies have seemingly put a turbulent summer behind them, are flying high in fourth place and find themselves unbeaten so far this season. A home win at St James’ Park is priced at 83/100 and I reckon they’ll get it.
CB: So you’re both pretty confident of the win?
JP: The last time Newcastle won this fixture here was on September 11th 2004. Admittedly, St James’ Park is a tricky place to go – so although I think Rovers will nick it, the draw no bet at 11/5 (stake is returned if the match is a draw) is a great shout for those more cautious punters.
JC: I think Josh may be forgetting that Rovers can’t keep a clean sheet for love nor money! They’ve leaked 14 goals in all competitions, an average of two a game so far this term. At the same time, the Toon have only managed to stop one team from scoring at St James’. Therefore, I’m backing a 2-1 scoreline in favour of the Magpies at 29/4.
CB: You both think there should be goals in this one, then?
JC: I don’t see why not. Both these sides have been involved in seven-goal thrillers in the past week alone! Rovers obviously had the Arsenal match and as Josh said, Newcastle booked their place in round four of the Carling Cup with the same 4-3 scoreline after extra time against Nottingham Forest in midweek. When these two meet, it’s usually a good day for the forwards, but they don’t net as many as that! Three of the last four meetings have contained three goals and I like the prospect of that eventuality happening again at 31/10, even if my scoreline prediction does not come off.
JP: One thing Blackburn haven’t struggled to do is find the back of the net. Even during their poor start they were bagging goals and only on one occasion have they failed to score. That was against Everton, where they missed two penalties and hit the woodwork more times than I can remember! Newcastle haven’t scored before the half-time whistle yet so Rovers to score first at 17/10 is decent value. Three of Blackburn’s seven goals have come in the first half, whereas Newcastle’s average goal time this season is the 59th minute.
CB: Who should we be looking at in terms of potential goalscorers for each side?
JC: Leon Best has all the attributes to be the hero that Newcastle fans are so desperate for up front. Already halfway to last season’s goal tally, he now looks every inch the complete centre forward who was so highly rated as a youngster at Southampton and later Coventry. I’m backing him to net in this match with odds of 7/4 in the anytime goalscorer market.
JP: Feed the Yak and he will score! Yakubu was a brilliant purchase for Blackburn and showed fans exactly why with that brace against Arsenal last week. Yakubu had a rest on Tuesday for the Carling Cup game, only coming on in the 88th minute, so he will be fresh and raring to go. At 2/1 to score at any time, Yakubu is a great bet to find the back of the net again. For those who fancy him to score first, 8/1 is brilliant value in itself.
CB: They’ll certainly need the Yak’s goals if they are to have any chance of staying up. Any final bets you would like to talk up?
JC: History shows Rovers usually score first in this fixture, with the winner being netted in the second half. To that end, I fancy it to be all square at the interval, but the Magpies to take the three points by the final whistle. Odds of 4/1 in the half-time/full-time market on a draw at the break with Newcastle running out winners are attractive.
JP: Jamie’s kind of stolen my thunder there a bit, but not entirely! Incredibly, neither of these teams have been leading at half-time in any of their opening games in the Premier League – that has to change at some point, so why not on Saturday? As he says, Newcastle haven’t even scored before the interval yet, so 15/4 for Rovers to win the first half is stunning! In three of the last five meetings between these teams at St James’ Park, Blackburn have gone in leading (the other two have been draws). This is a happy hunting ground for Rovers and I fancy them to go in with a half-time lead.
CB: Great stuff. Cheers for your thoughts lads, looking forward to seeing which way this one goes!
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