High flying Newcastle might struggle to break down a disciplined Mick McCarthy side.
Newcastle v Ipswich - Saturday 15:00
Not so fast, Newcastle. Tempting though it is to believe the Magpies will ride off into the sunset now they’ve reached the Championship summit, there might still be the occasional twist in the tale and there’s ample evidence to suggest Ipswich can frustrate them here. Take the 13/5 available on under 1.5 goals and back it up with a bet on no goalscorer at 10/1.
Many teams will wilt in the intimidating surroundings of St James’s Park this season but the mental challenge is unlikely to be the undoing of a Mick McCarthy team. The Tractor Boys pride themselves on their discipline without the ball and they are perfectly accustomed to not seeing much of it. Only once in 13 matches have they dominated the possession count.
Newcastle are the strongest team in the division by some distance but they make few compromises for the opposition and preparing for a game against them, in theory, is fairly straightforward. It doesn’t require much shapeshifting or in-game intuition. You just have to deal with a lot of quality players playing a lot of quality balls into the box.
However, Ipswich win over 30 aerial duels per game - the highest average in the division by a ridiculous margin - and they also top the charts for interceptions (23.8 per game), which just goes to show how well they keep their shape and how little they commit bodies forward. In the last 14.5 hours, they’ve only conceded two goals from open play.