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Best Odds: 13/8
Looking to get back on the winning track on Saturday night, Aston Villa will host a Newcastle behind closed doors in the only Premier League showdown this weekend.
Starting with the hosts, while Aston Villa may have put on a lively display when they returned from an extended break earlier in the week, it was a controversial night at the Etihad on Wednesday. Finally, falling in a 2-0 loss to a resurgent Manchester City, Dean Smith’s team will be desperate to regain some stability as they look to catch up. Even with at least a couple of games in hand on the teams above them at the table, there’s no question that the former Brentford boss should be smelling a real opportunity Saturday night. However, while Villa’s young stars might have fallen in that much-anticipated 4-1 loss to a stacked Liverpool team on FA Cup duties earlier this month, Midlands fans have seen their side suffer back-to-back defeats in the Premier League for the first time. time since the end of November. With players like Jack Grealish gaining a number of fans since opening the 2020/21 season, Smith will be desperate for his team to now make some much-needed improvements at home. Other than a 3-0 break against Crystal Palace on Boxing Day, Villa has failed to win any of his other five home games in all competitions.
Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn will miss Saturday night as he serves a one-game suspension after accumulating five reserves.
Dean Smith will also once again be without defender Kortney Hause, who remains out with a foot injury.
As for the visitors, who only came under increased scrutiny at Arsenal earlier in the week, it’s no secret that Steve Bruce really finds his place at St. James’ Park under real pressure. Finally, leaving North London on the wrong side of a 3-0 loss, the Magpies find themselves in the middle of real trouble and some in their camp have even started to look down on the drop zone. With many across the Northeast believing his team needs a dugout change, the former Sunderland boss has seen his style win a raft of criticism from pundits and former players. With their recent woes highlighted by that surprising 1-0 loss at Sheffield United earlier in the month, Newcastle have lost each of their last four consecutive meetings in all formats. More worrying for Bruce, as it appears his stalemate against Liverpool approaching 2020 was only a minor rebound, Saturday’s guests have not scored a single win since December 12.
Allan Saint-Maximin could play for Newcastle United for the first time since November after recovering from long-term coronavirus symptoms.
However, both Federico Fernández and Ciaran Clark have doubts due to injury.
Key factors to consider
- When the two teams met at Villa Park last season, Saturday’s hosts clinched a 2-0 home win.
- Losing their last four meetings in all formats, Newcastle have failed to register a single victory since December 12.
- The magpies have also managed to register a single goal in more than 650 minutes of action.
- Aston Villa have suffered consecutive defeats in the Premier League for the first time since late November.
- However, five of Villa’s last six Premier League games at home have seen more than 2.5 goals at the final whistle.
While Aston Villa might have been furious after their 2-0 loss at Manchester City in the middle of the week, Dean Smith’s team should be smelling a golden opportunity this weekend. Even with at least a couple of games in hand over the teams that are still above them on the table, the European outsiders should prove too much for a Newcastle team drastically under in both form and confidence. Free falling down the table and without a win to their name since December 12, Steve Bruce’s team is in the midst of a four-game losing streak. With a growing reputation for their obvious problems in the final third and with a single hit to their name in more than 650 minutes of action, the Magpies should face a tough test in the Midlands on Saturday night.
Verdict: Aston Villa win to zero
Best Odds: 13/8