Aston Villa are set to host Premier League high-flyers Newcastle United at Villa Park. The Villans as well as the Magpies have both had impressive campaigns so far and are reaching for an ambitious place in Europe’s major competitions next season.
Eddie Howe’s side are now favorites to clinch a top-4 finish and return to the Champions League for the first time in decades. Villa have come a long way under Unai Emery, who has transformed them from a relegation-battling side earlier in the campaign to now challenging for a Europa League finish.
Both these sides have overachieved expectations this season and produced a number of major surprises too. They’ve grown a fearless skin and head into this key Premier League clash high on confidence. Villa and Newcastle are both well aware that whoever manages to actually win this game will provide a big boost to their European ambitions.
Last 5 Games
Newcastle just about manages to pip over Villa in terms of recent form, having won all five of their last Premier League games. But the Villans are just behind them in terms of impressive form, having won four of their last league outings so far – meaning that this game can be expected a pretty tight affair.
Aston Villa: 6th
Win: 2-0 vs Nottingham Forest
Win: 2-1 vs Leicester City
Win: 2-0 vs Chelsea
Win: 3-0 vs Bournemouth
Draw: 1-1 vs West Ham United
Newcastle United: 3rd
Win: 2-1 vs Brentford
Win: 5-1 vs West Ham United
Win: 2-0 vs Manchester United
Win: 2-1 vs Nottingham Forest
Win: 2-1 vs Wolves
Aston Villa are missing some key first-team stars for this clash. Leon Bailey got injured in the win over Forest and could be back for this clash. Right-back Matty Cash is also out with a calf injury, as is midfielder Boubacar Kamara with an ankle knock.
Philippe Coutinho remains on the sidelines with a thigh injury and is also expected to be unavailable for this one. Goalkeeper Jed Steer is another absentee.
Newcastle also suffered a blow in the win over Brentford last weekend, with influential winger Allan Saint-Maximin suffering a thigh injury that saw him go off in the game. Emil Krafth is a long-term absentee with an ACL injury.
Miguel Almiron could be touch and go for this game as he works hard on recovering from a thigh injury. The Villa match will probably still be too early for him to start, even though he has a half-chance of making the bench.
Aston Villa: Martinez, Young, Konsa, Mings, Moreno, Luiz, McGinn, Ramsey, Buendia, Traore, Watkins
Newcastle United: Pope, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn, Guimaraes, Willock, Longstaff, Joelinton, Murphy, Isak
The Villans have met Newcastle on 170 occasions in their history, which includes matches in the league as well as cup competitions. Villa have won 58 of those encounters, with the Magpies holding the advantage with 73 wins.
The last time these two teams met earlier this season ended in a humiliating defeat to Villa at St. James Park. Newcastle absolutely smashed them with a 4-0 win, with Callum Wilson scoring a brace and Joelinton, as well as Miguel Almiron, getting among the scorers.
Where the game will be decided
This Premier League clash can be an end-to-end affair because of the kind of impressive form both teams are in heading into it. Newcastle are scoring goals for fun, while Villa are pulling off positive results time and again.
It is, however, fair to state that Newcastle’s attacking line is doing better than Villa’s right now. This is why the hosts will need to work hard to keep the Magpies’ forwards quiet. Even without Saint-Maximin, they have some menacing players.
Alexander Isak is a rapid figure and can finish off chances really clinically, as proven in the previous game itself. Joelinton has been a diamond-in-the-rough and Mr. Dependable for Newcastle, with his unpredictable creativity being a problem. Jacob Murphy’s movement, as well as Kieran Trippier’s delivery, can really trouble Villa.
Unai Emery must structure his side to be defensive strongly and capable of withstanding pressure. Tyrone Mings and Ezra Konsa need to work double-time to maintain a tight line. If able to sustain Newcastle’s attacking pressure, Villa will have to be clinical on counter-attacks and need forwards like Emiliano Buendia, Jacob Ramsey, and Ollie Watkins to be ruthless to get a win.
We’re going to back this game to be an entertaining draw. Both Villa and Newcastle are almost in similar forms heading into this form and have a lot of momentum on their side.
Despite the Magpies boasting a stronger squad, Villa have a 12th Man in the form of their faithful to raise their performance level. There should be plenty of goals in this one, but it’s probably likely to end with both sides canceling each other.
Prediction: Aston Villa 2-2 Newcastle United
Aston Villa to win: 13/5
Newcastle United to win: 11/10
Eddie Howe’s side are the bookmakers’ favorite to win the game, with 11/10 betting odds. That means if one was to bet $1 on them to win, the desired result would fetch them a return of $2.10 – with a $1.10 profit.
Villa, on the other hand, have been given surmountable odds of 13/5. In this, if one was to bet $1 for them to win, they’d get a return of $3.60. If one was to, however, bet $1 on a draw – they’d get a return of $3.40.
*By BetUS At the time of writing
The game will kick off at 12:30 PM GMT and the referee for it will be John Brooks.