Newcastle vs Blackburn: Ba absence makes for close encounter

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The African Nations Cup will deprive several Premier League sides of some big-name players, however, few teams will feel the absences as keenly as Newcastle United.

Both Demba Ba and Cheick Tiote have left for the tournament and the Magpies will sorely miss the pair after their superb performances in their comprehensive 3-0 victory over Manchester United on Wednesday.

With Blackburn also seeing off Man Utd in past week, this has all the makings of a very tight game…

Match odds

Following their brilliant victory over Man Utd, Newcastle are the favourites for this game at 8/13.

However, Rovers have a very decent record at the Sports Direct Arena and have won three of their previous four games there, including a 2-1 win in the Premier League last season.

Steve Kean’s men are 4/1 to get only their second away win of the season.

Meanwhile, the draw can be backed at 3/1 which would mean Rovers equal their best run of the season by going three consecutive games without defeat.

Goal markets

Ba has scored 58 per cent of all Newcastle’s goals this season but the Magpies will have to rely on the likes of Leon Best to find the net for them in this clash.

Best has just three goals this season but could be worth baking to find the net at anytime at 6/4 – especially considering he lines up against the second worst defence in the whole of the Premier League.

Meanwhile, Blackburn haven’t failed to score in any away league game this season and, with the Magpies shipping four in their Carling Cup defeat to Blackburn earlier in the season, backing over 2.5 goals at 8/11 looks tempting.

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