6/1 Header to prevent bore draw at the Britannia!
Stoke v Newcastle
20:00 - live on Sky Sports 1
Alan Pardew's side travel to the Britannia Stadium with their unbeaten record in the Premier League in tack however they will not need reminding of the 4-0 beating that was handed to them by Tony Pulis' side last season.
Newcastle also conceded four goals in their mid-week Carling Cup clash against Blackburn Rovers. It signaled the end of their 11-game unbeaten run in all competitions however Pardew was content with the effort his side put in with Guthrie (8/1 anytime goalscorer) and Cabaye (11/2 anytime goalscorer) scoring two injury time goals to take it to extra time.
Monday Night will give the Toon Army a chance to leapfrog Chelsea, who lost at home 5-3 to Arsenal, and sit behind Man United in outright third. Their position in the league can be attributed to many factors, however the six goals conceded in nine Premier League games highlights why Newcastle can boast the best defence in the League.
Much like their opposition Stoke's record at Britannia is just as impressive, they have only lost there once in the League and considering they did the double over Newcastle last season they will fancy their chances of taking something from the game. Tony Pulis has had his joint-best start to a campaign this season with 12 points from his first nine games and lying mid-table in eleventh will be seen as a solid platform to build from for the rest of the season.
Now that Peter Crouch (6/1 first goalscorer) has entered the dressing room the average height of the Stoke City squad has unbelievably got even greater. The set piece specialists have scored 71% of their goals from dead ball situations and that tight Newcastle defense will have to be at its best Monday night if they are not to be found out. In reference to this William Hill have decided that the Match Winner offer on the game will be for the first goal scored to be a header 6/1, enhanced from 9/2. In normal fixtures this may well not be a tempter however with a competitive game on offer with two of the best defences in the league, a set piece could well be what decides the game and it is therefore well worth a small tickle.
Stoke suffered a rare home defeat in the Carling Cup to the hands of Liverpool, and I have a feeling that Pulis will want to bounce back and give the home fans the satisfaction of ending Newcastle's impressive run. If they are to upset the visitors the Potters will have to create more than they have done recently. With only a measly 22 shots on target in the Premier League, the fewest in the league, it is surprising that with just seven goals they sit where they do in the table.
For me both teams will set up with the intention of nicking the three points. I would be backing the 2/1 on under 1.5 goals and also may be worth looking at the 0-0 draw at odds of 15/2. These two sides are not known for their soft tackling so the 9/2 for a red card in the match and the 5/1 on the total match cards over 6 market also look tempting in a match that promises little in terms of attacking flair.
As for goalscorers look for Peter Crouch (7/4 anytime goal scorer) to cause problems for the likes of Coloccini (12/1 anytime goalscorer) and for Newcastle if ex-Manchester United star Gabriel Obertan (11/2 anytime goalscorer) gets enough minutes he has the ability to unlock the notoriously tight Potters defence.