Ian Holloway was full of praise for Rafa Benitez earlier this week.
Asked to choose his three big stories of the Championship so far, the Sky Sports pundit chose Huddersfield top of the league, loan player Tammy Abraham knocking in the goals for Bristol City, and Rafa Benitez getting Newcastle UNITED after the mess the club was in before his arrival.
Ian Holloway also said that the other 23 Championship clubs had to watch out, as Newcastle were capable at any time of going on a winning run that would sweep all opposition aside.
However…despite all that, Holloway has tipped Saturday’s match to be the shock of the weekend, with Brentford taking all three points back to London.
He points to Brentford only having conceded nine goals all season (Newcastle have leaked 10) but he fails to recognise that they have let in only two at home in six games but seven in five matches away from home.
Still not a massive amount but Brentford have only won one of five games on their travels, with their home form (unbeaten in all six) having carried them to seventh place.
Whilst it is true that Newcastle have had mixed fortunes at home (won three and lost two), you do have to feel that once again it all comes down to whether NUFC turn up on Saturday, and if they do then the points look destined for the home team.
Ian Holloway talking to Sky Sports:
“I have got to admit, I jumped to conclusions at the start of the season when Brentford couldn’t keep hold of their good players like Jake Bidwell.
“I couldn’t have been more wrong with my prediction. Dean Smith and the squad are proving me wrong. Good on them.
“Newcastle look like a team that are enjoying the challenge the Championship brings. The rest of the division needs to watch out as this team could go on a huge winning run at any stage of the season.
“However, Brentford look confident and Newcastle’s home form has been a bit up and down. They lost to both Wolves and Huddersfield at St James Park.
“Brentford have only shipped nine goals this season, which makes me think they may have enough to stifle Rafa Benitez’s men.
“This is my shock of the weekend. Scott Hogan to net the winner.”