Friday, February 28, 2020

Prediction: Aston Villa vs Newcastle

Verdict: 1-1

Best Odds: 6/1

Bookmaker: Bet365

Looking to extend on their recent success following on from the international break, Newcastle will make the trip to Villa Park on Monday night.

Aston Villa

Starting with the hosts, while Aston Villa may have a quarter-final EFL Cup showdown to look forward to next month, Dean Smith’s men have continued to show some signs of a struggle while on Premier League duties. Suffering a 2-1 defeat away at Wolves prior to the international break and watching the Oranges grab Midlands bragging rights, the former Brentford boss has seen his side lose each of their last three top-flight matches on the bounce. Now sat just a single point above slipping into the drop zone and some starting to believe that the Villains could be dragged into a relegation scrap, a huge part of Villa’s continued issues has been their struggles at the back. Shipping two or more goals in each of their previous three defeats and not recording a clean sheet across any format since the 16th of September, only one side outside of the bottom-three have shipped more goals than Monday’s hosts this season.

Team News

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish is set to play against Newcastle on Monday night after four weeks out with a calf injury.

Tom Heaton, Bjorn Engels and Matt Targett are also expected to be fit.

Newcastle

As for the visitors, while many around St. James’ Park were left furious by the decision to replace Rafa Benitez with Steve Bruce over the summer, Newcastle really started to shine heading into the international break. Battling from behind to snatch a 2-1 win off of Bournemouth in the North East a fortnight ago, the former Sunderland boss has seen his side land back-to-back victories and they have lost just one of their last five Premier League appearances. Now scoring five goals in their two victories, including bagging a trio of strikes away at West Ham earlier in the month, the Magpies will know that another victory on Monday would see them break into the top half of the table. While Newcastle might be enjoying their brightest run of the season so far, there is no doubt that Bruce will be calling on his side to make some much-needed improvements at the back. The guests have failed to record a clean sheet in any of their last four Premier League matchups.

Team News

Newcastle pair Florian Lejeune and Fabian Schar are in contention to return from knee injuries, while fellow central defender Ciaran Clark is likely to overcome a minor injury.

Captain Jamaal Lascelles and winger Matt Ritchie remain sidelined.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Three of the previous four matches between Newcastle and Aston Villa have ended in a draw.
  • Newcastle have landed back-to-back Premier League victories and have lost just one of their last five matchups.
  • Villa are in the midst of a three-match losing run.
  • The Magpies have failed to record a clean sheet in each of their last four matchups.
  • Monday’s guests have shipped two or more goals in each of their previous three defeats.

Conclusion

On paper, both sides will see Monday’s matchup in the Midlands as a golden opportunity to collect three points. While Newcastle are undoubtedly enjoying their brightest run of the season under Steve Bruce, Villa’s performances on home soil have continued to cause problems for most across the Premier League. With three of the last four matches between the two sides ending in a draw, including back-to-back stalemates when they met in the 2016 campaign, we’re backing a similar outcome on Monday night.

Verdict: 1-1

Best Odds: 6/1

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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