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Leeds have now gone three games without a goal following defeats to Tottenham and Crawley (both 3-0) and most recently Brighton (1-0).
In fact, they’ve lost six of nine matches since the start of December, though did also record a trio of victories over bottom-half Premier League sides and will hope Newcastle are the perfect opponents to get back on track.
The Magpies have lost seven of 10 winless matches over 90 minutes, with the one game that went to extra time also seeing them concede twice in the additional 30 minutes.
This winless streak was actually kicked off by Leeds themselves in a 5-2 defeat at Elland Road, and the mood is quickly darkening on Tyneside as not only are the results poor, but a lack of entertainment leaves little else for the fans to cling to.
Seven of Newcastle’s nine outings since these two last met have featured fewer than three goals, as Steve Bruce’s side have managed just the solitary strike in 776 minutes of football when including extra time with Arsenal in the FA Cup.
Summer signing Callum Wilson has now gone six games without finding the net in all competitions, though there is hope with Allan Saint-Maximum returning from the bench last time out against Villa after two months on the sidelines with coronavirus.
Newcastle +0.5 Asian Handicap
Newcastle have won just three of 26 league games that Saint-Maximum hasn’t started since he arrived at the start of last season, compared to 13 of 31 when he starts as they’re a radically different proposition with the Frenchman involved.
Most notably, their output nearly doubles as they’ve scored 0.69 goals per game without him, and 1.23 when he’s involved from the off.
However, Saint-Maximum received just under 20 minutes on the pitch at Villa and having seemingly been hit hard by the virus, demonstrated by the lengthy absence, we’d be unsure of the 23-year-old hitting full stride upon his return to the line-up.
Still, he will no doubt improve the Magpies, whether or not it’s enough to end their winless run, and they certainly looked livelier after he and Ryan Fraser came off the bench at Villa, with the latter returning from suspension.
It’s also worth noting that Newcastle have had some tough fixtures of late. Six of their last seven appearances have come against Arsenal (twice), Liverpool, Man City, Leicester and European-chasing Villa, so at the prices and with Saint-Maximum back in the fold, look better value to pick something up from this clash.
It will certainly help that Leeds have their own striking problems. Patrick Bamford has gone off the boil as after netting eight times in Leeds’ first eight games, he’s since scored just three times from the past 10 appearances.
Meanwhile, summer signing Rodrigo has netted just three times all season and was off the pace before being hooked just after the hour mark last time versus Brighton, as Leeds are the only top-flight club without a goal across all competitions in 2021 so far.
Newcastle are without defenders Paul Dummett and Federico Fernandez, while Ciaran Clark is also a doubt at the back.
Marcelo Bielsa is also without players as he’s missing Gaetano Berardi, Adam Forshaw, Robin Koch and Illan Meslier, though is boosted by Kalvin Phillips returning from suspension.
The latter is important to the visitors, but not as much as Saint-Maximum is to Newcastle and that swings us behind the hosts.