Best Odds: 13/8
Looking to make a return to winning ways on Saturday night, Aston Villa will host a struggling Newcastle from behind closed doors in this weekend’s only Premier League showdown.
Starting with the hosts, while Aston Villa might have put in a spirited display when they returned from an extended break earlier in the week, it was a controversial night at the Etihad on Wednesday. Eventually falling to a 2-0 defeat against a resurging Manchester City, Dean Smith’s side will be desperate to refind some stability as they look to play catchup. Still holding at least a pair of games in hand over the teams above them in the table, there is no doubt that the former Brentford boss should be smelling a real chance on Saturday night. However, while Villa’s young starlets might have fallen to that expected 4-1 defeat against a stacked Liverpool squad on FA Cup duties earlier in the month, fans around the Midlands have seen their side suffer back-to-back Premier League defeats for the first time since the end of November. With the likes of Jack Grealish gaining a string of admirers since opening the 2020/21 campaign, Smith will be desperate for his side to now make some much-needed improvements on home soil. Aside from a 3-0 romp against Crystal Palace on Boxing Day, Villa have failed to win any of their other five home fixtures across all competitions.
Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn will miss out on Saturday night as he serves a one-match ban after accumulating five bookings.
Dean Smith will also once again be without defender Kortney Hause who remains out with a foot injury.
As for the visitors, only coming under more scrutiny away at Arsenal earlier in the week, it is no secret that Steve Bruce really finds his position at St. James’ Park under real pressure. Eventually leaving North London on the wrong end of a 3-0 defeats, the Magpies find themselves in the midst of a real blip and some in their camp have even started to look over their shoulder at the drop zone. With many across the North East believing that their side needs a change in the dugout, the one-time Sunderland boss has seen his style gain a string of criticism from pundits and former players. With their recent issues highlighted by that shock 1-0 loss away at a rock-bottom Sheffield United earlier in the month, Newcastle have lost each of their last four straight matchups across all formats. More concerning for Bruce, with it appearing that their stalemate against Liverpool when drawing a close to 2020 was just an ever so minor bounce, Saturday’s guests have failed to pick up a single victory since December 12th.
Allan Saint-Maximin could feature for Newcastle United for the first time since November after recovering from long-term coronavirus symptoms.
However, both Federico Fernandez and Ciaran Clark are doubts due to injury.
Key Factors to Consider
- When the two sides faced off at Villa Park last season, Saturday’s hosts picked up a 2-0 victory on home soil.
- Losing their last four matchups across all formats, Newcastle have failed to record a single victory since December 12th.
- The Magpies have also managed to record just a single goal in over 650 minutes of action.
- Aston Villa have suffered back-to-back Premier League defeats for the first time since the end of November.
- However, five of Villa’s last six Premier League contests on home soil have seen over 2.5 goals by the final whistle.
While Aston Villa might have been left furious after their 2-0 defeat away at Manchester City in midweek, Dean Smith’s side should be smelling a golden chance this weekend. Still holing at least a pair of games in hand over the teams still above them in the table, the European outsiders should prove to be too much for a Newcastle side drastically low on both form and confidence. Freefalling down the table and without a win to their name since December 12th, Steve Bruce’s side find themselves in the midst of a four-match losing run. With a growing reputation for their glaring issues in the final third and with just a single strike to their name in over 650 minutes of action, the Magpies should face a stern test in the Midlands on Saturday night.
Verdict: Aston Villa win to nil
Best Odds: 13/8
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