There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a tough start to the season for Newcastle, who have collected just a single point from four matches to sit 19th in the table, while they have already conceded 12 times, which is the worst defensive record in the top flight this term.
Steve Bruce’s side had ended the month of August with a draw at home to Southampton but were beaten 4-1 by Manchester United at Old Trafford last weekend, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring twice on his return for the Red Devils;
Javier Manquillo had actually levelled the scores early in the second half, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team went on to score another three goals without reply in the final 30 minutes.
It is still very early in the season, so hardly time to panic, but Newcastle’s next two league matches are extremely important, as they welcome Leeds before travelling to Watford on September 25, and the Magpies will not want to be in the relegation zone heading into October.
Newcastle have not actually beaten Leeds in the Premier League since January 2004, losing both meetings between the two teams last season, including a 2-1 defeat at St James’ Park back in January.
Bruce will be aware of the importance of Friday’s contest, but Newcastle have only won one of their last five home Premier League matches and conceded four in a loss to West Ham United on the opening weekend.
Leeds, meanwhile, have also made a disappointing start to the new Premier League campaign, collecting just two points from four matches, while they have the joint-second worst defensive record in the division behind Newcastle, having conceded 11 times thus far.
The Whites picked up a point away to Burnley before the international break but suffered a 3-0 home defeat to Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, with the Reds being afforded far too much space over the course of the match.
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Leeds were so impressive on their return to the top flight last term, finishing ninth in the table, but they will be wary of the dreaded second-season syndrome, and it would be fair to say that their entertaining brand of football does leave them vulnerable against the better sides in the division.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side will be in EFL Cup action away to Fulham on September 21 before ending the month at home to West Ham in the Premier League, and it is absolutely vital that the team put a league victory on the board as soon as possible