Newcastle United v Leeds United: YEP Jury predictions

Liam Bridcutt.
Liam Bridcutt.
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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s Championship game at Newcastle United.


Jonjo Shelvey.

Jonjo Shelvey.

I’m sure the away game at St James’ Park, Newcastle, was one of the first that most Leeds fans looked for when the fixtures came out last June.

I doubt many thought the game would be as important as this one is though. Newcastle are on the brink of securing a return to the Premier League at the first time of asking; a win against Leeds could potentially leave them needing just one more victory from their final four games to achieve it.

For Leeds, the calculations are more complicated, but a victory over the Toon will get us one step closer to a play-off spot and, depending on other results, by tonight it may well be a straight fight between five teams for those four coveted play-off places: Huddersfield, Reading, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham. In fact, if Fulham were to lose at Norwich in their three o’clock game then a win for Leeds would leave us needing a maximum of five points from our last four games to guarantee our place.

So, what are the chances? Well, we all know that at our best we can beat anyone – witness the recent win over Brighton. After two less-than-perfect displays ‘down south’ we came back to something like our best last Saturday in the 3-0 demolition of Preston, another decent side.

I’d not expect too many changes from the side that started against Preston although the big question will be whether Liam Bridcutt is a) fit and b) picked to play a part or whether Garry Monk will keep his faith in the young guns, Phillips and Vieira. Maybe the experienced head of Bridcutt will be needed in front of 50,000 excited Geordies!

Newcastle are definitely beatable. They have been stumbling towards the finish line recently with just two wins in their last six and those only narrow victories over Burton Albion and Wigan Athletic.

At home they have dropped points against Fulham and Bristol City in the last six weeks. And, if you are looking for omens, the referee for that 2-2 draw the Toon fought out with Bristol was the referee tonight, Chris Kavanagh.

They are likely to be without leading scorer Dwight Gayle too; he sustained a hamstring injury in their defeat at Hillsborough last time out.

Prediction: Newcastle United 1 Leeds United 1.


So, A game late on Good Friday is deemed a good idea by the FA and police. I foresee problems from a full day’s ‘watering’ by both sets of fans. Hopefully my fears will be allayed.

Leeds should show less respect for Newcastle than they did at Elland Road. Some of our players seemed fazed by playing the ‘barcodes’. The effort was there, Newcastle won without really breaking sweat.

Rafa Benitez has had his differences with Mike Ashley, who kept the purse strings closed in the last transfer window. Benitez wanted Andros Townsend back on Tyneside. It didn’t happen and rumblings of discontent between manager and owner continue to be discussed by fans. I saw them play Burton last week: well-organised with pace on the wings, but their defence was given a hard time by Luke Varney, so Chris Wood and Kemar Roofe might be able to exploit that weakness.

The one player Leeds do need to keep quiet is Jonjo Shelvey; the midfielder is instrumental in everything.

I hope if Liam Bridcutt is fit, Garry Monk still gives the team that beat Preston another chance to shine. Kalvin Phillips and Ronaldo Vieira had their best games, Kemar Roofe and Pablo Hernandez tormented the backline and the inclusion of Roofe finally gave Chris Wood support up top.

Prediction: Newcastle United 1 Leeds United 2.


I am still amazed that ‘the powers that be’ thought it sensible to hold a game between two of the league’s most vociferous fans, in a city known for its drinking culture, at 7.45pm on a Bank Holiday Friday. I expect those of us travelling are in for a good time.

Those who are alert enough to watch the football when we finally get to the very top of St James’ Park can expect to see a good game between the two Uniteds.

Leeds are solid if unspectacular on the road and Newcastle have been shaky at home.

We never really looked like winning in the reverse fixture but we might spring a surprise tonight.

Prediction: Newcastle United 1 Leeds United 2.


After a timely return to winning ways United head to St James’ Park this evening to take on title-chasing Newcastle United. Whilst top scorer Dwight Gayle may be missing don’t be fooled by thinking that this will be anything but a stern challenge against The Magpies who were one of the most impressive teams to visit LS11 earlier this season and look set to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

United are often at their best when the burden of expectation is not focused on them and attack my well be the best form of defence and an early goal may well turn the home supporters against the “Black and Whites”.

A sell out crowd in excess of fifty-two thousand is expected with the Whites backed by in excess of three thousand loyal hordes. Let’s hope United scale the same heights as the away following tonight.

Prediction: Newcastle United 1 Leeds United 1.


There is a very strong chance that only Old Trafford will see a bigger attendance than the one expected at St James’ Park tonight as Leeds United travel north to take on Newcastle.

The defeat to Rafa Benietez’s side back in November felt like a crushing blow at the time, but it gave the fans and more importantly the team the belief that they were not a million miles behind a side expected to romp to promotion.

Perhaps the Whites gave Newcastle a little too much respect, but results since that autumn afternoon have certainly given Garry Monk’s side a lot more self belief as they head into this Good Friday fixture.

Leeds are coming off the back of a good win over Preston, whilst Newcastle will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing defeat at Sheffield Wednesday.

I would expect Leeds to approach the game a little more defensively than they did against Preston, but I would love Garry Monk to prove me wrong and send out a team full of the attacking vigour that was on display last weekend.

Over 50,000 are expected at St James’ Park and with the game being broadcast to the nation, it should be a cracker. Hopefully the result will be similar to our last Easter meeting with the Geordies back in 1995 when Tony Yeboah helped the Whites to a 2-1 win. Sadly I feel that the Magpies will just be a little too strong.

Prediction: Newcastle United 2 Leeds United 1.


After last Saturday’s great pick me up against Preston, United resume their season against the Magpies. Dwight Gayle is unlikely to be fit which must count as a plus. When he scored both goals against Leeds at Elland Road, Newcastle looked a class above Leeds but most fans will believe that if Sheffield Wednesday can beat them, then so can Leeds. Provided that they can contain Jonjo Shelvey, I’m backing Garry Monk’s men to come home with at least a point.

Prediction: Newcastle United 1 Leeds United 1.