Newcastle v QPR betting
Newcastle United: League Position: 7th, League Form: DLWLW
Cheick Tiote and Demba Ba are long gone to the African Cup of Nations now, and Newcastle will do very well to cope without them both. Tiote was the player of last season for The Toon, and Demba Ba is clearly their class act this year. The physicality, drive and pace both players bring will be hard to replace, and even harder still will be that goal scoring knack that Ba has. Pardew recently said he plays two positions for his team with how hard he works, a striker who can link with midfield and occupy two defenders up top. He scores too, 15 Premier League goals this season putting him just behind Robin Van Persie for the Golden Boot.
This may be Newcastle’s biggest problem. Who is going to put them away? And with Ba’s ability to link midfield and occupy two men, will teams fear their attacking threat less, making them more comfortable going forward? Next top goal scorer in the league for Newcastle is Leon Best, the striker who is likely to have Ba’s place whilst he is away. That sounds fine, until you see he has only three goals so far.
QPR: League Position: 17th, League Form: LLDLL
It was a shock to see Neil Warnock sacked last weekend by Chairman Tony Fernandes, but a shock that soon disappeared once his recent record had been examined. They started fine for a promoted club, but since struggling to beat nine-man Chelsea at the end of October, a game they deserved to lose on balance of play, they have won one match in eleven league games. The sinking feeling must have taken its hold on Fernandes and his board, and Warnock was gone.
Already Mark Hughes is appointed, and ready to take charge. His initial transfer targets already look a step of class above the business done in summer. Alex from Chelsea and Samba from Blackburn have both been bid for, and with his links with various clubs and very good players, he could bring in the Premiership quality they have lacked. And can he unlock the riddle of Taarabt at this level? Possibly a luxury player in a struggling team, but also a game changer.
Match Prediction: DRAW – 3.6 Paddy Power
With QPR struggling and Newcastle without their top scorer, suggesting both teams will score two may seem unlikely. But with Mark Hughes coming in to give that boost most new managers get, and Newcastle at home against a team that still have not brought in reinforcements they require, there is definitely a chance of this one opening up.
QPR will get a lift with a good display full of attacking intent. Win, lose or draw, entertaining the fans makes it a positive still. But grinding out a boring away draw will not be the start Mark Hughes wants.
Equally, Newcastle will have players ready to prove they can keep going with Ba. And they may feel they have to chuck a few extra bodies forward to get goals without the Senegalese scoring sensation.
They will both have weaknesses to exploit, Newcastle’s more readily than usual without a man who can conjure a goal out of nothing. They will maybe look to Hatem Ben Arfa for creative inspiration and the man to link attack to midfield in Ba’s absence. On top of his game he is a class act, and can produce moments of inspiration.
Over/Under: Over 2.5 Goals – 1.95 Bet 365
First Goalscorer: Hatem Ben Arfa – 9.00 Bet Fred
Correct Score: 2-2 DRAW – 17.00 William Hill
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