Newcastle's disappointing reverse at home to West Ham means the Magpies have managed just one league win in six attempts and that victory came via a fortuitous deflection, so it's fair to say Alan Pardew's men are stuttering a touch.
Nevertheless, Stan James make United odds-on to turn the corner, pricing them at 10/11 to get the better of Swansea, Ladbrokes' 10/3 outsiders, writes chris hutcheon.
A sixth draw in ten Premier League outings is set to be popular at 13/5 courtesy of bet365 and, indeed, that was the outcome when the pair met at St James' Park last season. That one finished goalless and BetVictor quote odds of 11/1 for a repeat, although at 13/2 (William Hill), a 1-1 scoreline is considered more likely in a contest that's 9/2 at Skybet to be level at the end of each half.
However, there are reasons for encouragement for Newcastle, whose opponents have won just once in nine league games and are without a success on the road since the opening day. Subsequently, Skybet's 11/4 for the Magpies to edge it by one starts to appear a little more attractive and the same can be said of Stan James' 8/1, marked against a 2-1 home triumph while bet365 make Demba Ba 9/2 to bag the first goal.
It's not one win in ten for Sunderland after they were edged out at Everton last weekend, but the encouraging thing for Martin O'Neill's troops is that they managed to get on the scoresheet at Goodison Park, a feat they're 1/2 with bet365 to repeat as they head to Fulham.
The Black Cats however, will again start as lengthy outsiders, just as they did on Merseyside, BetVictor pricing them at 4/1 to pick up a morale-boosting victory, where Paddy Power make the hosts 3/4 favourites and Stan James chalk the draw up at 14/5.
Three of the pair's last five meetings have ended goalless, a result that Skybet offer at 12/1 this time around and one that will attract cash given Sunderland's scoring troubles. Staying with the stalemate, BetVictor post 5/1 against both halves finishing all square and bet365 rate O'Neill's men at 11/4 in the 'Draw No Bet' market.
Despite the Black Cats' lack of goals Stan James offer a chunky 21/20 about the match producing fewer than three, for travelling supporters William Hill make Sunderland 12/1 to manage the only one and in attack, Steven Fletcher will again command plenty of first scorer cash, at 7/1 (BetVictor).
Middlesbrough's excellent run continued with a 3-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday last weekend, but Tony Mowbray's men face a stern test of their promotion mettle as they head to Cardiff today.
The Bluebirds have a 100 per cent home record so they're William Hill's 6/5 favourites while Boro are Stan James' 12/5 outsiders, it's 13/5 via Paddy Power to finish all-square and Mowbray's troops are 4/6 (bet365) to do what no other team has done at the Cardiff City Stadium and avoid defeat.
Stan James cater for the confident, pricing Middlesbrough at 12/1 to pouch the only goal of the game in South Wales, where they're 5/1 (Ladbrokes) to be in front at the end of each half and following his goal against the Owls, Boro marksman Ishmael Miller could attract cash in Paddy Power's first scorer market, at odds of 8/1.
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