Simon Mail previews the midweek Premier League clash at the Hawthorns between managerless West Brom and Newcastle United...
"Four of Newcastle's last five games have seen at least one side fail to net. Three of West Brom's last five matches have resulted in this outcome. In addition, four of the last five clashes between these two sides have ended with at least one not scoring."
West Brom v Newcastle
Baggies in trouble after miserable run
West Brom's season has been a major disappointment and there has already been a casualty after boss Tony Pulis was sacked last week following a run of ten games without a Premier League win. The Baggies' 4-0 defeat at home to Chelsea was the final straw with the fans turning against Pulis. Alan Pardew is the short-priced favourite to replace him but Gary Megson, in temporary charge, steered West Brom to a creditable 1-1 draw at Tottenham on Saturday.
The Baggies remain precariously positioned one place above the Premier League relegation zone, with just 11 points from 13 games. West Brom have only won twice in the league and the last victory came back in August at Burnley. The side opened up with three consecutive wins in all competitions, but it has been a miserable run since which has only yielded five points. Their biggest problems have been in the final third with just ten goals scored in 13 matches.
Newcastle inconsistent following promotion
Newcastle's form has been very hit and miss this season but this is hardly surprising in their first season back in the top flight following promotion. Rafa Benitez's side lost their opening two games before three wins on the spin left them handily placed. A home victory over Crystal Palace put them in a promising position, inside the top ten, but their results have taken a turn for the worse recently.
The Magpies have lost four games in a row and the fans voiced their frustrations during the 3-0 home defeat to Watford on Saturday. Newcastle are up for sale and the club badly need new investment to help strengthen Benitez's resources. His side still look short in attacking areas and have only scored one goal in their last four matches. United are still in mid-table and this would be an acceptable return for their return to the Premier League but the team will need to halt their slide well before the festive period.
West Brom too short to back
West Brom come into this match as favourites but do you really want to be taking odds of 2.427/5 on a side without a win since August? This is clearly a good opportunity to end their barren run but the Baggies have failed to win their last six home matches stretching back to the opening day of the season. The hosts look too short to trust regardless of the state of the opposition.
Clearly Newcastle are also misfiring and there is no temptation to back the visitors at 3.412/5. Confidence has been sapped in recent weeks and Newcastle's only away win of the campaign came at second bottom Swansea. The Magpies will be focused on stopping the rot and making themselves difficult to beat. But there are too many concerns with their form to be supporting Newcastle to take the three points.
The draw is priced up at around 3.259/4 and this is undoubtedly the most appealing of the three options in this market. Both sides could easily cancel each other out in a stalemate and West Brom have drawn five games this season - the joint highest amount in the league. But only one of the last six clashes between the teams have finished level and Newcastle have only had two draws during this campaign.
Lack of goals expected in clash
With both sides struggling to find the net, it is no surprise under 2.5 goals is a short price. But there is little in the way of value in backing this outcome at odds of 1.68/13. It is also worth noting there were over two goals in Newcastle's last two matches and two of West Brom's last four games so an alternative bet is suggested.
Misfiring sides makes both teams to score unlikely
The teams' struggle for goals suggests it is worth betting against both sides scoring. Four of Newcastle's last five games have seen at least one side fail to net. Three of West Brom's last five matches have resulted in this outcome. In addition, four of the last five clashes between these two sides have ended with at least one not scoring. With their problems in front of goal, there must be a strong chance of this trend continuing so both teams to score looks worth laying at the Hawthorns.
Lee Probert takes charge of this game and the referee has sent off three players this season including Simon Francis in last week's game between Bournemouth and Huddersfield. He dismissed four players in 31 games during the previous campaign.
Back no in both teams to score at 1.834/5
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Simon Mail's 2017/18 Season P/L