League leaders in the Championship West Bromwich Albion take on Premier League-side Newcastle Tuesday evening in the FA Cup. Not since 2006 has Newcastle United reached the quarterfinals in this competition and they face a tough nut to crack here. West Bromwich will, of course, have promotion to the Premier League as their main target this season. This is a great opportunity though to make it to the next round.
The Baggies have already shipped out one side from the Premier League when beating West Ham away. Taking on Newcastle at home looks like a fine opportunity to down one further Premier League team. West Bromwich had been on a great run of five wins and a draw recently before stumbling rather surprisingly 1-0 to in-form Wigan at the weekend. Speaking of 1-0 that was the final score of both their last two wins in this competition.
Since their last quarter-final 14 years ago Newcastle has never made it past the fourth round before now. They have had to struggle in doing so with replays needed in both previous rounds. Considering they played League One sides in both ones would expect an even tougher time against a premier Championship side.
They drew at Rochdale in the third round before beating them at home. Then Oxford held them to a draw at St. James’ Park before The Magpies beat them in the replay. Only after extra time though. Newcastle was held to a goalless draw at home by Burnley on Saturday leaving them 14th in the table. Only five points clear of the relegation zone after a weekend with a lot of bottom half sides taking points.
Not taking extra time into consideration they have gone seven games without a win and are struggling for goals. Newcastle only scored in one of their last six matches, away to Oxford United in the fourth-round replay. West Bromwich can cause an upset here and reach the quarter-finals if they set their minds to it.
Removing extra time from the equation, Newcastle has not won an away match in this competition since January 2006. That is 18 away matches without a win in regular time. With poor form and the relegation zone drawing closer their focus could be with the league and not the cup. We put our money with the Baggies.