Two Opta stats show wildly contrasting home form for Newcastle and Stoke and as the Premier League (almost) reaches the quarter mark of the 2017-18 season Joe Dyer ponders what the campaign may bring for these two clubs...
"What could Newcastle's targets be this season then? A top 10 finish is certainly achievable and while you have to wait until the season's end to collect, the [2.1] on Toon doing just that looks a decent bet. More optimistic Newcastle fans may want to throw a few pounds on a top six finish at mega prices - 22/1 is available on the Betfair Sportsbook. "
Slumping Stoke have genuine cause for concern
Key Opta Stat 1: Stoke have lost five of their last 10 home league games (W3 D2).
It's long felt like a tired cliché to talk about Stoke's supposedly strong home form, and the numbers have backed up that opinion for a while - true, they won 10 league games in front of their fans in both 2013-14 and 2014-15 but it was only the first of those seasons, when they lost just three matches, that can be classed as superlative.
In fact, their record in 2016-17 - seven wins, six draws, six defeats - is far more in keeping with the Potters' play in recent years. They won eight in 2015-16, and seven in the season that preceded those back-to-back 10 home win campaigns.
Opta tell us that Mark Hughes' side have lost five of their last 10 in league matches, a run that bridges into last season, and it seems that even Stoke's essentially ordinary home form may actually be slightly on the downgrade.
Nine Premier League games so far have seen Stoke yield just eight points and they will go into the 10th round of fixtures in the relegation zone. The 2016-17 campaign was the first time in three seasons that Stoke finished outside the top-flight's leading 10 clubs and layers offering [7.0] on a Stoke relegation may prove to regret their generosity come the end of this campaign.
Newcastle a real Premier League force under Benitez
Key Opta Stat 1: The Magpies have lost only one of their last 10 Premier League games on home soil (W6 D3 L1).
While Stoke languish in 18th, Newcastle look down on 14 clubs from their lofty position of sixth following Saturday's 1-0 defeat of Chelsea conquerors, Crystal Palace, and ahead of Sunday's Premier League kick-offs.
Like Stoke, their 10 game Premier League form straddles two seasons, but in Newcastle's case that means five from the 2017-18 campaign and the final five of 2015-16 when the club narrowly dropped out of the top-flight.
And unlike Stoke, Toon's home form is seriously impressive. Results in 2015-16 saw them repeat Saturday's 1-0 Palace defeat, draw against both Manchester City and Liverpool, and notoriously destroy a slumping Spurs, 5-1, in the season's final day.
They opened the season with a defeat at St James' Park - Tottenham gaining their revenge for that big defeat and then travelled to Huddersfield where they lost a battle of two newly promoted clubs. But since then Newcastle have won four of the next seven, drawing two and only losing to Brighton. And, of course, they are unbeaten at home since that Spurs defeat.
What could Newcastle's targets be this season then? A top 10 finish is certainly achievable and while you have to wait until the season's end to collect, the [2.1] on Toon doing just that looks a decent bet. More optimistic Newcastle fans may want to throw a few pounds on a top six finish at mega prices - 22/1 is available on the Betfair Sportsbook.