History beckons for high-flying Newcastle United as they take on bottom-half Premier League underachievers Leeds United at St James’ Park on New Year’s Eve.
Inspired by a quick-fire double inside the opening seven minutes of their Boxing Day trip to Leicester City, Eddie Howe’s team dismantled the Foxes 3-0 to maintain a stellar top-flight start.
Having equalled the club-best streak of 11 unbeaten Premier League matches at the King Power Stadium (W8, D3), Newcastle briefly surpassed back-to-back champions Manchester City to second place.
Although the Cityzens reclaimed the spot with an emphatic 3-1 triumph at Leeds on Wednesday, Howe’s men will take the field in high spirits.
Enjoying themselves in third in the standings after an outrageous run of six consecutive league victories, the Magpies go in quest of a 12th straight Premier League outing without losing for the first time.
By contrast, visiting Leeds suffered a sixth defeat in their last eight league matches in midweek (W2), allowing 18th-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers to reduce the distance between the sides to a mere two points.
Jesse Marsch’s men have racked up a league second-low four points on their top-flight travels in 2022/23 (W1, D1, L5), losing five of their last six away league games.
As one of the worst-performing away teams in the Premier League this season, the Whites may be unable to begin their travelling resurgence at one of the most intimidating hostile venues in the country.
Newcastle’s propensity for ending calendar years on a sorrowful note has seen them go winless in their final league match in any of the last five calendar years (D4, L1).
They have failed to beat Leeds in any of their last three league encounters on home turf (D2, L1) and could make it four winless home league H2Hs on the trot for the first time.
That trend may change on Saturday, as the Magpies have turned St James’ Park into a fortress, going unbeaten in all eight Premier League home fixtures this term (W5, D3), including victories in the last four.
It’s hard to be a Leeds fan these days. Even taking the lead three times in a match is no longer enough to get the Whites three points, as evidenced by their 4-3 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur on their last league travel.
Embroiled in relegation-zone turmoil for the second straight season, Marsch’s men must improve their away form to increase their survival hopes, with St James’ Park emerging as a happy hunting ground for them of late.
However, after a 1-0 home loss in January, Leeds stare down the barrel of back-to-back league defeats at the hands of Newcastle for the first time since 2002.
Newcastle United vs Leeds United Potential Line-ups
Newcastle United (4-3-3): Nick Pope; Kieran Trippier, Fabian Schar, Sven Botman, Dan Burn; Sean Longstaff, Bruno Guimaraes, Joe Willock; Miguel Almiron, Callum Wilson, Joelinton.
Leeds United (4-2-3-1): Illan Meslier; Rasmus Kristensen, Liam Cooper, Robin Koch, Pascal Struijk; Tyler Adams, Marc Roca; Wilfried Gnonto, Brenden Aaronson, Crysencio Summerville; Rodrigo Moreno.
How to Watch?
Newcastle United vs Leeds United Prediction
It’s been a sensational a transformative year for Newcastle, who are in far better shape to take three points on Saturday than defensively fragile Leeds.
Howe’s men have been scoring practically at will on either side of the World Cup, with the Whites’ leaky defence only improving the Magpies’ odds of adding to the tally.
We expect a clear-cut win for the home side.
Newcastle United 3-1 Leeds United
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