Two out-of-form teams meet at St James’ Park in a midweek round of Premier League fixtures on Tuesday as Newcastle United play host to Leeds United. Newcastle have lost five games in a row in all competitions and are winless in 10, while Leeds have lost their last three without scoring a goal.
Had it been any other bottom-half club, a fifth loss on the spin and growing fan discontent surely would have brought an end to the manager’s tenure. Not so for Newcastle boss Steve Bruce, who looks likely to remain in place for as long as owner Mike Ashley is waiting for the club to be taken over. The big concern for United fans is that, having exited both cup competitions in recent weeks, they are now sliding down the table and are in relegation danger.
Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Aston Villa was the fourth successive game in which the Magpies have failed to find the net, the last three of those losses coming in the league. Bruce’s men are seven points above the dropzone, but an improving Fulham side have a game in hand to play and plenty of time to make up the deficit. The situation at Leeds is not quite as bad, despite also struggling for form and indeed goals since the turn of the year.
United have gone down 3-0 to Tottenham Hotspur and Crawley Town in the Premier League and FA Cup respectively, as well as losing 1-0 to Brighton & Hove Albion last time out. They managed just seven shots in that loss to lowly Brighton, their fourth-lowest in a game under Marcelo Bielsa, and are the only top-flight club without a goal in 2021.
Indeed, only Cardiff City in 2019 have gone four Premier League games without scoring at the start of a calendar year, while Ipswich Town in 1970 were the last top-flight side to lose four on the spin without scoring. It must be remembered that Leeds are still in their first campaign back at this level since 2004, though, and Bielsa’s charges are only six points behind Chelsea in ninth place. Leeds certainly did not struggle for goals in the reverse meeting, seeing off Newcastle 5-2 at Elland Road in December, but they have not completed a league double in this fixture since 1975-76.
Newcastle United vs Leeds United Head-to-Head
The head-to-head record is really tight, with Newcastle United having won 39 games against Leeds, while Leeds have secured 38 wins of their own. In total, 18 of the previous 95 games between these two teams have ended in draws.
Newcastle United form guide: L-L-L-L-L
Leeds United form guide: L-L-L-W-W
Newcastle United vs Leeds United Team News
Newcastle will miss defenders Paul Dummett and Federico Fernandez for this game. In a boost for the home side, they have Allan Saint-Maximin available again following his recovery from injury.
Newcastle will be without Paul Dummett and Federico Fernandez for this match, while fellow defender Ciaran Clark is also a fitness doubt. However, Bruce has Allan Saint-Maximin back involved after the French winger made his first appearance in two months as a second-half substitute against Villa. Scoring goals may be an issue for Newcastle, but Callum Wilson – who has gone six full games without finding the net – seems likely to lead the line once again.
As for Leeds, Gaetano Berardi, Adam Forshaw, Robin Koch and Illan Meslier are all expected to miss out on this midweek trip to St James’ Park. Kalvin Phillips is back available after serving a ban, though, and is expected to take over from Pascal Struijk in holding midfield. Striker Patrick Bamford scored seven goals from his first 29 shots in the league this season, but he has since netted three times from his last 36 attempts.
Newcastle United vs Leeds United Predicted XI
Newcastle United Predicted XI (5-4-1): Karl Darlow; DeAndre Yedlin, Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schar, Ciaran Clark, Matt Ritchie; Miguel Almiron, Isaac Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Joelinton; Callum Wilson
Leeds United predicted XI (4-1-4-1): Illan Meslier; Stuart Dallas, Luke Ayling, Liam Cooper, Ezgjan Alioski; Kalvin Phillips; Rafinha, Rodrigo, Mateusz Klich, Jack Harrison; Patrick Bamford
Newcastle United vs Leeds United Prediction
Under-fire Newcastle boss Bruce has never lost a home league match against Leeds in his managerial career (P7 W5 D2), facing no side more without losing at home in the league. The hosts are in desperate need of a victory, but so too are their opponents on the back of a disappointing losing run of their own. All going to form, everything points towards this game finishing in a stalemate that would not really suit either side.