Two sides yet to pick up a win in the Premier League this season go head-to-head on Friday night as Newcastle United welcome Leeds United to St James’ Park.
Newcastle go into this home clash second-from-bottom in the standings, with their sole point coming against Southampton before the international break.
That point should certainly have been three, as the Toon conspired to draw at the death despite finding a stoppage time goal of their own which gave them the latest of leads.
To add to the crushing blow of late disappointment against Saints, Newcastle’s first game back after the international break was in Manchester where a returning Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice on his second Manchester United debut to condemn Steve Bruce’s side to a 4-1 loss at Old Trafford.
Leeds United meanwhile also felt the wrath of a Manchester United side in the mood when they were thrashed 5-1 at Old Trafford on opening day, and they have struggled to find their groove since.
They are a point better off than Friday’s opponents Newcastle but are still languishing towards the foot of the table in 17th position.
The Whites’ last affair came at Elland Road against Liverpool, where they were put to the sword by Jurgen Klopp’s side 0-3, with Pascal Struijk being shown a straight red card for a tackle on Harvey Elliott which left the Liverpool youngster with a dislocated ankle.
Leeds did lodge an appeal to get the 3-game ban overturned, but the FA upheld the decision and Struijk will sit out Friday’s trip to Tyneside with suspension.
Struijk’s absence will leave Leeds vulnerable at the back, something which has caused concern amongst supporters with Marcelo Bielsa’s side having shipped 11 goals this term.
Only Leeds’ opponents Newcastle United have conceded more in the Premier League so far this season – and the Magpies also have issues at the other end.
Striker Callum Wilson is a major doubt to feature at St James’ Park due to a thigh complaint, whilst defender Paul Dummett and goalkeeper Martin Dubravka will also be missing, meaning Freddie Woodman is likely to continue between the sticks.
Jonjo Shelvey is also unlikely to feature, although Ciaran Clark, Ryan Fraser, Joe Willock and Javi Manquillo are all in contention for Steve Bruce.
Leeds have 3 definite absentees, all of which are of defensive persuasion. The aforementioned Struijk is banned, whilst Diego Llorente and Robin Koch have muscle injuries and won’t play.
Newcastle United v Leeds United is an 8pm kick off on Friday 17th September.