Bill Edgar: Newcastle United have that losing feeling while Mourinho hits the heights in Manchester

Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba - just one of the giants in United's XI v Watford

The Times stats guru drops in to shine a light on struggling Newcastle, a very tall Manchester United side and the sparkling form of the current champions in Europe's top five leagues...

"José Mourinho has a fondness for tall players but the Manchester United manager took it to extremes in the closing moments against Watford. At one point nine of United's 11 players on the pitch were 6ft2 (188cm) or taller. Their height has paid off in the past two games, with Romelu Lukaku heading home against Burnley and a Marouane Fellaini header setting up Chris Smalling to score against Watford."

Newcastle at a loss

Newcastle United have a huge fanbase and finished as league runners-up in consecutive seasons in the mid-1990s but they have become accustomed to a diet of more defeats than wins over the past dozen years. Far too good for the Championship, having stormed to the title both times that they dropped out of the Premier League, they have only once qualified for European competition in that period, and otherwise have been unable to get anywhere near that target. Newcastle, the fourth shortest price in the Betfair Exchange's relegation market at 4.77/2, have recorded more losses than victories in nine of their past ten top-flight campaigns, and are on course to make that 10 out of 11.

Rafa Benitez's side are 4.1 to record their first victory of the Premier League season away to Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.

United's tall story

José Mourinho has a fondness for tall players but the Manchester United manager took it to extremes in the closing moments against Watford. At one point nine of United's 11 players on the pitch were 6ft2 (188cm) or taller. Their height has paid off in the past two games, with Romelu Lukaku heading home against Burnley and a Marouane Fellaini header setting up Chris Smalling to score against Watford. United are 2/1 to score a headed goal against Wolverhampton Wanders on Saturday.

Champions quick out of the blocks

The champions of Europe's strongest five leagues have made a flying start to the new season. Of their combined 21 league matches so far, the only failure to win in domestic leagues came when Manchester City drew 1-1 away to Wolverhampton Wanderers, whose goal was scored via Willy Boly's arm. City have won their other four league matches, while Paris Saint-Germain have won all five in France, Juventus have won all four in Italy, Barcelona have won all four in Spain and Bayern Munich have won all three in Germany.

Odds of 3.613/5 are available with Betfair on all five clubs winning their respective leagues again and the quintet are 2.6813/8 to all win this weekend...

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