Newcastle Stoke Odds : Cisse and Ba look to hot to handle at Sports Direct Arena

Newcastle United will be looking for crucial points in their quest for a place in the top four this weekend when they host a Stoke City side that sit comfortably in mid-table with four games to go, as punters pile into the 4/6 on offer from Paddy Power for Alan Pardew’s men.

Going into this weekend, Alan Pardew’s men are level on points with 4th placed Tottenham and this is a fantastic achievement for them. No-one expected them to be in contention for European places this season, that’s for sure.

They are now at the stage in the season where being in contention isn’t enough though. Newcastle have a genuine chance of Champions League football and three points this weekend would help them achieve this.

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Looking at their recent form, there is no doubt that they appear to have hit a purple patch at just the right time. The 2-0 win over Bolton last time out –which saw red hot Papiss Cisse score again – made it five wins in succession in the Premier League.

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As for Stoke City, they are coming towards the end of a very long season which began last summer with European qualification. They want to finish strongly though and as high up the league as they possibly can.

At the moment, Tony Pulis’ men sit 14th in the table, but they are only a point behind Sunderland in 9th, so a top ten finish is still very much in their sights. They will be boosted by the run of only one defeat in their last five Premier League games too, with a draw at Aston Villa last time out.

When these two teams met earlier in the season, it ended in a fantastic 3-1 win for Newcastle and they are definitely the favourites to complete a valuable double. They are strong on home soil at the moment and their self-belief is higher than it has been all season.

Stoke will put up a fight though and with very little to play for, they can play with a freedom, helping this clash become an entertaining one. It gets underway at 3pm on Saturday afternoon.