EFL Championship: Newcastle v Preston Preview


We preview Monday night's EFL Championship clash between Newcastle and Preston.

The mood surrounding St James Park this weekend will be one of trepidation and uncertainty following a bizarre dip in form at the business end of the season. Rafa Benitez will be looking at the fanfare at Brighton and wondering why it isn’t him cracking the champagne bottles early. They still have automatic promotion within their control, but that insipid performance against Ipswich will leave some supported a tad disillusioned should they fail this week. Simon Grayson’s side were similarly poor against Norwich and are at least safely ensconced within the middle of the table. They would no doubt like nothing more than to play spoilers and really leave Benitez with some issues.
Newcastle v Preston | Monday 24 April | St. James' Park | 20:45

To Win (90 Mins)
Newcastle 9/20 | Draw 33/10 | Preston 52/10 

Newcastle United
Rafa Benitez needs to bank on their tremendous home form this week to stop a run that has seen them lose two of their last three games.  he performance of Mo Diame in the number ten role was especially disturbing. Ayoze Perez is surely a necessary inclusion in the team: to at least offer some razzmatazz. His predatory presence and quickness of thought will provide far more penetration than the sluggish physicality of Mo Diame.

Matt Ritchie was uncharacteristically poor against Ipswich and will revel against a Preston side that lacks the dynamism in midfield to contain him. Ritchie has been excellent at making those late runs and should have a real impact this week. I also expect Atsu to be a major inconvenience for Vermijil. Daryl Murphy scored his obligatory goal upon his return last week and will clearly provide a real goal threat, hopefully alongside Perez.

Preston are going to struggle to contain the midfield running power of Newcastle United. Jonjo Shelvey and Ritchie are going to prove tough for Gallagher and Browne to contain. Cunningham’s departure in the last game created the opportunity for Spurr to come on and press his case for first-team selection. He scored their consolation goal and may find his way into starting contention.

While Robinson and Hugill are their nominal forwards, it’s really McGeady that pulls the strings in attack. His incisive ability to come in off that left-hand side will provide some issues to Newcastle if they become too advanced. They do have the unpredictable goal-scoring threat of Jermaine Beckford to call upon should they aim to freshen things up, but Grayson has seemed reluctant to utilise Beckford.

Verdict: Matchbet + Both Teams to Score - Newcastle & Yes 2/1
I think that Newcastle’s recent defensive frailties will lead to at least one substantial defensive jitter that results in a goal. However, I expect Benitez’ side to have too much firepower at home to a Preston side resigned to a state of mid-table limbo.

Written by Damien Kayat @Hollywoodbets.

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