Newcastle United will expect to keep their good thing going when they entertain League One outfit Oxford United in the FA Cup this weekend. Steve Bruce’s side are the clear favourites, although we wait to see what sort of team the Magpies manager sends out.
Where and when: St James’ Park – 25 January, kick-off 15:00
Where you can see Newcastle vs. Oxford: Unavailable in the UK
Last time: Oxford upset the betting odds the last time these teams met, dumping Newcastle out of the FA Cup with a 3-0 victory at the same fourth-round stage in 2017.
Newcastle v Oxford Predictions and Preview
That cup meeting between the clubs was the first time they’d locked horns since 1988, with then-Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez making sweeping changes to his team three years ago. The U’s were tremendous that day, but is there any chance of another giant-killing this weekend?
In truth, probably not. Newcastle followed up a comfortable 4-1 victory over another third-tier outfit, Rochdale, in their third-round replay with another great win over Chelsea at the weekend, giving them some breathing space in the Premier League. Level on points with Arsenal and Everton in mid-table, that could mean Bruce plays a slightly stronger team here than if his side were struggling in the relegation zone.
He certainly did just that against Rochdale in the last round, and Bruce will be keen for his team to keep up their momentum in recording their third straight win. This game will be very different to the smash and grab job the Toon did on Chelsea on Saturday, with the hosts expected to enjoy the lion’s share of possession rather than a paltry 30%.
|Our Eurotips||Odds||Free bets||Bookie|
Newcastle to win to nil
Oxford to win 1-0
Almiron to score first
Newcastle’s lengthy injury list probably prevents the manager from making too many changes anyway, with Jetro Willems becoming the latest man consigned to a spell on the sidelines after rupturing his ACL early on against Chelsea.
Oxford meanwhile are enjoying a bid for promotion this season, currently residing in the League One play-off places and only six points behind table-toppers Rotherham. Karl Robinson’s side thrashed Hartlepool 4-1 in the third round, with Rob Hall, Shandon Baptiste, Tarique Fosu and Matt Taylor all on target.
The Yellows have failed to win any of their three fixtures since then though, losing to Rotherham at home before draws against Ipswich and Gillingham. You never know in the cup, but an upset appears unlikely here, with Oxford priced at 15/2 for the win. They are 21/5 to force a replay with a draw and upset Newcastle’s winter break, but the home win looks like a safe bet at 4/9.
One to watch for Newcastle: We waited almost a year for Miguel Almiron to score his first Newcastle goal, which he did against Crystal Palace just before Christmas. The Paraguay international bagged three in three prior to Saturday’s victory over Chelsea, including two in the FA Cup, and he’s 5/1 to break the deadlock here.
One to watch for Oxford: With top scorer James Henry injured, the U’s will hope Rob Hall can continue his cup scoring run. Yet to score in the league so far this term, the 26-year-old has managed six in his last seven cup games, including a hat-trick away to Crawley Town in the EFL Trophy in November. He is 20/1 to score first.
Long shot: Oxford can count Newcastle amongst their recent giant-killings, although a repeat of their 3-0 success from three years ago is probably out of the question at 150/1. If the U’s manage the upset, it’s more likely to be via a narrow 1-0, which is priced at 25/1.