Blackburn and Newcastle will both be gunning for all three points when the two teams hook up at Ewood Park in Blackburn on Feb. 1. Blackburn has been having a terrible time so far this season and sits in 18th place in the English Premier League, just three points ahead of last-place Wigan. They have just four wins, six draws and 12 losses on the season. However, they’ve been improving a bit lately with four points in their past two league games and eight in their last five, which includes a 3-2 win at old Trafford over Manchester United.
Mauro Formica has been playing well and could get a starting spot as manager Steve Kean needs some more offense. The biggest problem for Blackburn heading into this game is that Yakubu, their top goal scorer, will be out of action due to a red card he received against Fulham. Kean did manage to sign Marcus Olsson in the January transfer window and he could be in the squad.
Newcastle started the season very impressively, but has cooled off a bit lately. They sit in sixth place with 36 points from 10 wins, six draws and six losses, including a 3-0 win over Manchester United. Manager Alan Pardew hopes to have defender Fabricio Coloccini in the lineup, but he needs to pass a fitness test. Newcastle will also be without their top scorer in Demba Ba as well as Steven Taylor. Ba is away at the African Cup of nations along with teammates Cheik Tiote and Papiss Cisse.
Blackburn will be depending on somebody to pick up the slack from Yakubu and this could be David Goodwillie, who’s scored in each of their last two games. However, he didn’t score in his first 13 matches. Blackburn has shutout Newcastle in their last two meetings at Ewood Park and still has one of the best goalies in the league in Paul Robinson. In fact Newcastle hasn’t won in Blackburn since the 2006-07 season and they haven’t won in their last six away games anywhere this season.
Predictions for Blackburn vs Newcastle
This will be the team’s fourth meeting this season. Newcastle won 3-1 at home in a league game in September. Blackburn then turned the tables in a Carling Cup win 4-3 a month later and Newcastle came out on top 2-1 at home in an FA Cup match about three weeks ago. In their last five matches overall against all competition, Newcastle has three wins and two losses while Blackburn has two wins, a draw and two losses.
Newcastle needs the points if they hope to finish fourth and earn a Champions League berth, while Blackburn desperately needs them to climb out of the relegation zone. Blackburn should be able to avoid a loss here, but they might only manage a draw, not the win they need.
Sportsbook William Hill’s latest odds show a Blackburn win at 13/8 with a Newcastle victory at 17/10 and a draw at 11/5. Bet through the banner at the top to get some very nice free bets for this game.