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Michael Owen bizarrely claims Newcastle United will have benefited from virus outbreak

10 months ago
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Michael Owen has been talking about the match at St James Park on Saturday.

The game going ahead despite earlier fears that it could go the same way as the Aston Villa match eight days earlier.

Steve Bruce confirming on Friday that he will have enough players to put out a team against West Brom.

However, the NUFC Head Coach warned that a ‘big chunk’ of the first team squad won’t be available for this game, Bruce stating that a number of players are still self-isolating, whilst others are finding they are too fatigued due to having had the virus, to be considered for first team duty yet.

Michael Owen has a bit of a different view on the situation, a bit bizarre, he claims: ‘Newcastle had a bit of time off after last week’s match against Villa was postponed. They should come into this one fresh.”

Hmmm, whilst I don’t often have much sympathy for Steve Bruce, even I can’t see it having been a benefit to not have had any group training until this Wednesday, the last previous one at the Benton HQ having been almost two weeks previous on Thursday 26 November. Nor can having a number of extra first team players ruled out due to the virus, be seen as a benefit.

If there hadn’t been a virus outbreak, Newcastle would have played at Villa and then had eight days before this West Brom match, where the squad as a whole would have been a lot more ‘fresh’ than is the case now.

Newcastle United have predictably opted not to share training ground images ahead of this match, so we don’t know exactly how many key players will be amongst those missing.

West Brom at home was no doubt seen as in the top one or two matches in terms of Newcastle most likely to get three points this season and their form hasn’t done much to change anybody’s mind. Michael Owen claims the Baggies have ‘lost 10 of their last 11 matches’ and whilst things are bad for Slaven Bilic, they aren’t quite that bad. Instead, it is a case of West Brom failing to win 10 of their last 11 Premier League matches, just the one win but also three draws.

This is no doubt seen as a massive game and opportunity for West Brom, Slaven Bilic hoping to take advantage of the weakened Newcastle squad. An away win would see West Brom only five points behind Newcastle and out of the relegation zone, at least until Sunday when Fulham and Burnley have their matches. For Newcastle, a victory could put them 11 points clear of relegation after this weekend.

It doesn’t have the look of a classic when you see Newcastle have scored only six goals in five home matches, whilst West Brom have scored only three in five away PL matches. Plenty conceded for both in these matches though, Newcastle leaking 11 at home and West Brom 11 away.

Michael Owen predicts a Newcastle win and Steve Bruce’s team SHOULD have enough to get the three points. However, when you have a team so reliant on one man when it comes to goalscoring (12 PL goals scored by NUFC, one own goal and of the other 11, Callum Wilson has scored seven and got two assists) and a Head Coach who is so negative with his tactics, it can never be taken for granted.

Michael Owen speaking to BetVictor:

“Newcastle had a bit of time off after last week’s match against Villa was postponed.

“They should come into this one fresh and face a West Brom side that suffered a heavy defeat on home soil against Southampton.

“The Baggies were well in the match until the red card.

“They capitulated after that incident and now will have to turn the corner very quickly before it’s too late.

“The away side have lost 10 of their last 11 matches, and if Newcastle are anywhere near full-strength, I think they’ll take maximum points.

“Prediction – Newcastle to win.”

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