Newcastle vs Brentford Odds, Picks, Predictions | Premier League Preview
Visionhaus/Getty. Pictured: Yoane Wissa.
Newcastle vs Brentford Odds
|Over / Under|
-150 / +120
No team in the Premier League has played a more difficult fixture list to start the season than Newcastle. The Magpies beat Aston Villa at home and then lost three consecutive matches to Manchester City, Liverpool and Brighton. Newcastle will face a different kind of challenge on Saturday against a very possession-averse Brentford side. The biggest question entering the new year for Newcastle was whether or not they could replicate their attacking output if teams forced them to have more of the ball and break down lower blocks without space in behind to exploit.
Through four matches, that skill hasn’t really been tested because Newcastle has played teams that want to have the ball and play on the front foot. That’s not Brentford. The Bees will cede most of the possession to Newcastle and challenge Eddie Howe’s side to break them down and create margin.
Newcastle were excellent front runners last season because they were elite at playing with a lead, but I question how sticky that really is year to year and how much of that was statistical variance. Their numbers when in even game states tended to be rather low event and that's a risky as a sizable favorite against an above average Brentford team.
Let's get into my Newcastle vs Brentford preview.
Through four matches, Howe has opted not to start Callum Wilson and Alexander Isak together in the forward line. Howe instead has played a front three of Miguel Almiron, Anthony Gordon and Isak. Gordon and Almiron especially have mediocre track records of shot production and that has left the Magpies short on shots when they've played quality teams like Manchester City and Brighton away from home.
As much as the midfield was able to contribute shots against Aston Villa in the opener, they've been considerably less involved in the last few matches. The result is that Newcastle failed to score against City, scored once on a gifted defensive error vs. Liverpool and then only scored down 3-0 in stoppage time to Brighton.
I'm considerably lower on the true talent of the Newcastle attackers if the Magpies start Almiron and Gordon over Wilson and new signing Harvey Barnes. Both Almiron and Gordon had career years last year and still weren't above 0.48 xG + xA per 90.
The Magpies also do have some injuries to potentially monitor. It seems that both Sandro Tonali and Sven Botman are trending toward starts on Saturday, but the absence of one or both would hurt the defensive and midfield solidity that Howe has turned into Newcastle's greatest strength in the last 18 months.
There’s a lot of air in the early season numbers because of opponents and red card outlier minutes, but Brentford have created the most xG and non-penalty xG in the entire league. They’ve done it without Ivan Toney and without overwhelming shot volume (10th in shots per 90), but rather with high quality chances and efficiency on set pieces. The Bees have the highest xG per shot in the entire league and are once again defying the market which continues to expect them to be a lower mid-table team.
Newcastle away is the most difficult match the Bees have played to this point, but I'd expect a similar approach to the Spurs match on the opening weekend here. The Bees let Tottenham have a lot of possession and the ball in the final third — no team in the PL that weekend had more final third entries than Spurs — but completely walled off entry into the penalty area.
Spurs weren't able to create consistently high quality chances and given the mediocre attacking quality in wide areas of both clubs' attacks, it's easy to see how Spurs and Newcastle have similar issues breaking down Brentford here.
Newcastle vs Brentford
Pick & Prediction
Each time we expect Brentford to regress down toward what the club fundamentals tell us they should be, they continue to prove the market wrong and overachieve. First it was the second year syndrome after they had a stellar debut season in 2021-22. They finished in the top half.
Then it was the loss of Toney at striker. Surely they couldn't replace him. Through four matches, Yoane Wissa and Bryan Mbeumo have done enough to produce enough high quality chances to suggest they can be a league average attack rest of season.
Newcastle won both meetings between these two teams last year, but both were about even in expected goals. The Magpies' conservative nature in possession will make it hard for them to separate. I’d bet Brentford +1 at -115 or better. They've been the most profitable underdog in the PL since joining the league for a reason.