10th April 2011
Aston Villa desperately need a victory not only to end the poor run of results but also to escape the danger zone and the match against Newcastle is clearly a must win for Villans. The Magpies remained in the top part of the table as they trashed Wolves at St James Park and they enter this match without any pressure.
This has been a very difficult season for Aston Villa, as witnessed by their involvement in the Premiership relegation race and it is important to note that all problems started with the departure of Martin O’Neill. The Villans needed almost half of the season to recover from the massive blow and just when they began to play to their potential, an incident involving several players and boss Gerard Houllier disrupted the good atmosphere in the squad and prevented Villa from keeping the rich vein of form. Nonetheless, Aston Villa now have a great chance to create a big advantage over the bottom three since West Ham, Wolves and Wigan have already lost their weekend’s games. The hosts will have Ciaran Clark back from suspension, while Marc Albrighton could also start this match. After quite a while, Gerard Houllier will have fully fit squad to choose from, which is very important as Villa are looking to get revenge on Newcastle for the embarrassing 6:0 defeat at St James Park earlier this season.
Newcastle have had some problems of their own this season, but the Magpies have learned to cope with them, which is why they should easily avoid the drop this term. Everybody expected the team’s performances would drop after owner Mike Ashley decided to sack boss Chris Hughton, especially as Alan Pardew was brought to replace him, but former West Ham and Charlton boss managed to get the team going again, with the Magpies now sitting in the top part of the table. Newcastle recovered well from back to back defeats to Everton and Stoke to beat Wolverhampton 4:1 at St James Park, and they are no under no pressure to pick up any points from the Villa game. Ryan Taylor returns to the squad after a ban, but James Perch, Kevin Nolan and Cheik Tiote are all suspended and will be sorely missed. Ben Arfa, Smith, Gosling, Ireland and Best remain sidelined.
Aston Villa have shown some improvement in last weekend’s game against Everton and it is high time that Villans returned to the right track. Newcastle conceded four in their last away game and seeing they will be missing several important players, my advice is to back Aston Villa here.
Verdict: Home win Aston Villa (1)
Best Odds: 4/5
Bookmaker: Victor Chandler
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