The Grinch. Ebenezer Scrouge. Alan Pardew. Three guys who have every reason to be pretty miserable around Christmas time. Despite the festive cheer, the prospect of getting many, many pairs of socks and jocks, and the copious amounts of parties you simply have to attend and get drunk at, Pardew has the winter blues.
As a Premier League manager he has been in the top flight for seven December months, at West Ham, Charlton and Newcastle, but has never cracked the winning formula between all the Christmas merriment.
The 2-1 win away to Chelsea on December 6 this season was a brief highlight in a month of misery for Geordie supporters. A 4-1 hammering by Arsenal at the Emirates was followed by a derby day loss at home to Sunderland – Newcastle’s fourth derby defeat on the spin.
Now the Magpies have to travel to Old Trafford to face a Manchester United side who are unbeaten in seven games, and have won all nine of their Boxing Day fixtures in the last decade. It’s not going to be easy for Pardew whose Christmas curse means he has a win rate of just 29 per cent during December. It might explain why the visitors are such long odds at 7/1, although there are some black and white straws to clutch at for the Toon Army.
Going all the way back to 1906, Newcastle and Manchester United have clashed 22 times during December. In those games Newcastle have won seven – a win rate of 32 per cent – and drawn another six times. That means that they’ve taken at least a point off the Red Devils in 59 per cent of their December meetings. It’s hardly the kind of stat that would fill you with confidence, but it might make you at least consider the Newcastle or draw double chance at 2/1.
- In fact Newcastle have been more profitable than Man Utd this season. If you had put £10 on each side to win before every game this season you’d be making a loss of £9.10 on Louis van Gaal’s United, but up £47.50 if you were backing the Magpies
- Since October 18 Newcastle have been super profitable. If you’d backed them every week since then you’d have pocketed £117.50 in profit and have more than doubled your money.
The thought of Newcastle getting anything at Old Trafford might just be the sherry talking though, and if you’re not adverse to a price that’s skinnier than a supermodel, United probably look like banker material at 2/5. Their recent run under LVG hit a minor speed bump away to Aston Villa, but they are the top flight’s form team. Combine that with their 100 per cent Boxing Day record over the last decade and Alan Pardew’s winter blues, and it’s clear why the traders are running scared.
If you’re looking to eek a bit more value out of your Christmas fund, take a peek at Juan Mata (above). The little Spaniard scored twice against Newcastle in April, and has three goals in his last six league games. It’s 23/10 for United to win and Mata to get himself on the score sheet at any time.