The unstoppable force meets the immoveable object at the Britannia Stadium tonight, with Stoke City unbeaten at home in the Premier League and Newcastle having yet to taste defeat since their campaign began with a goalless draw against Arsenal.
The Magpies have been the surprise package in the division so far, with many people expecting them to struggle after losing Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton in the summer. However, a stout defence has seen United concede just six goals in nine games and they will go into this game with plenty of confidence.
Newcastle can be backed at 13/5 (bet365 – £200 free bets) to win this match, just as they have done at Wolves and Sunderland this term, with Alan Pardew’s men having collected a point from trips to Villa Park and Loftus Road. Perhaps this match represents their toughest assignment to date against a Stoke side that have held Chelsea and Manchester United on their own patch.
The Potters are the 6/5 favourites (Paddy Power – £100 free betting) to claim victory and they will be looking to climb back into the top half of the table after dropping down to 11th on Saturday. Their last home game saw City find a late breakthrough against Fulham and their physical approach is sure to test a Newcastle defence who have so far stood strong on the road.
Peter Crouch is among the favourites to open the scoring, although Jon Walters seems to be the man to often break the deadlock, with Stoke also able to call on Kenwyne Jones and Cameron Jerome as far as attacking options are concerned.
One player who could cause some damage for the visitors is Demba Ba, with the Newcastle forward having come close to signing for Stoke last January before failing a medical and joining West Ham before switching to St James’ Park.