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Preview: Aston Villa vs. Newcastle United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Newcastle United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Aston Villa will be in Premier League action at home for the first time since Boxing Day when they host Newcastle United in a rearranged fixture on Saturday.

While most of the rest of the top flight focus on FA Cup matters, two sides in growing need of a victory will look to overturn their recent fortunes with three valuable Premier League points at Villa Park.


Match preview

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is shown a red card on January 20, 2021© Reuters

Saturday's match pits the two Premier League clubs most affected by coronavirus against each other, with Newcastle still feeling some of the effects of the initial breakout which caused this fixture to be postponed on December 4.

Villa have since had to close their training ground for 10 days and go almost three weeks without a Premier League fixture, finally returning to top-flight action for the first time since New Year's Day on Wednesday night.

It could hardly have been a tougher assignment for Dean Smith's side as they came up against an in-form Manchester City side at the Etihad Stadium, but the visitors quickly shook off any rustiness and gave as good as they got for much of the contest.

In the end, a controversial opening goal saw Man City break the deadlock before Ilkay Gundogan wrapped up the victory from the penalty spot but, despite the frustrations which led to Smith being shown a red card on the touchline, he had plenty to be proud of from his side's performance.

The roles will be very different for the visit of a floundering Newcastle side, with Villa going into the game as firm favourites despite now not tasting victory in the Premier League since Boxing Day.

Kortney Hause celebrates scoring for Aston Villa against Crystal Palace on December 26, 2020© Reuters

The three games since that last win have been away to Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City - a difficult run from which Villa took just one point to fall into the bottom half of the table.

However, Villa perhaps more than anyone will be ignoring the standings at this stage given that they have as many as three games in hand over most teams, and victory in the first of those on Saturday would immediately catapult them back up to eighth, above the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal.

It may have come almost a full month ago, but Villa's last home league game saw them end a four-match winless streak on their own turf with a confident 3-0 triumph over Crystal Palace.

The hosts may be quietly confident of something similar as they face a Newcastle side seemingly in freefall having picked up just two points from the last 21 available in the Premier League, rooting them firmly at the bottom of the form table.

The gap to the relegation zone remains a fairly comfortable seven points, but the pressure on manager Steve Bruce continues to grow and another convincing defeat on Saturday - which would be their fourth loss in a row in the league - would see questions over his future become even louder.

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce pictured on January 9, 2021© Reuters

Perhaps the most concerning element of their recent run has been the manner in which the goals have dried up, with the Magpies finding the back of the net just once in their last five Premier League outings.

The picture does not get any prettier in all competitions either - just one goal in their last seven outings and no goals in their last five games away from home.

Indeed, the last time Newcastle scored an away goal in any competition was on December 16 in their 5-2 defeat at the hands of Leeds United, so their hopes of breaching what has been one of the league's sturdiest defences so far this season look slim.

Newcastle have failed to score in their last three Premier League visits to Villa too, a run stretching back to 2013, but Bruce might take some encouragement from the fact that Villa have been better away from home than they have on their own turf so far this season.

Saturday's hosts have also only won one of their last 12 Premier League meetings with Newcastle, although that victory did come in this exact fixture last season to make it four games unbeaten against the Magpies.

Aston Villa Premier League form: DWWDLL
Aston Villa form (all competitions): WWDLLL

Newcastle United Premier League form: DLDLLL
Newcastle United form (all competitions): LDLLLL



Team News

Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Aston Villa will be without John McGinn for this match after he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Man City.

Saturday's match is also likely to come just too soon for Trezeguet, while Wesley and Kortney Hause remain sidelined for the hosts too.

Anwar El Ghazi will be among the players pushing for a starting role should Smith look to make changes, with Bertrand Traore potentially making way.

Bruce made eight changes to his starting XI for the match against Arsenal on Monday night - the most the Magpies have ever made to a starting lineup in the Premier League era.

It was a clear message to his squad following their defeat to Sheffield United and, while the changes did not exactly work with Newcastle falling to a 3-0 defeat, a defiant Bruce hinted that it would be his way forward from now on.

Newcastle will have Ryan Fraser back available after suspension, but the game is expected to come too soon for Federico Fernandez and Allan Saint-Maximin.

One player who is likely to survive any further rotation from Bruce is Callum Wilson; he has scored the winner in four of Newcastle's five league victories this season, although it is now more than a month since he found the back of the net.

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; Luiz, Nakamba; El Ghazi, Barkley, Grealish; Watkins

Newcastle United possible starting lineup:
Darlow; Krafth, Lascelles, Clark, Lewis; Almiron, Shelvey, Hendrick, Fraser; Carroll, Wilson


SM words green background

We say: Aston Villa 2-0 Newcastle United

Neither side come into this match in particularly good form, but Aston Villa's recent defeats have been a lot more encouraging than Newcastle's have.

It is difficult to back the Magpies to even score, yet alone win, at the moment, particularly away from home, and we can see them extending their longest Premier League winless run since October 2018 with another defeat on Saturday.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data



Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


ID:431499:cQx:QQ:

How you voted: Aston Villa vs Newcastle

Aston Villa
78.1%
Draw
13.9%
Newcastle United
7.9%
151
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Jack Grealish in action for Aston Villa on December 20, 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City25185250153559
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd25147453322149
3Leicester CityLeicester25154644271749
4West Ham UnitedWest Ham25136639291045
5Chelsea25127641251643
6Liverpool25117745341140
7Everton2412483733440
8Aston Villa23113937261136
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs24106837271036
10Leeds UnitedLeeds25112124343035
11Arsenal25104113126534
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2596102632-633
13Crystal Palace2595112943-1432
14Southampton2586113143-1230
15Burnley2577111830-1228
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2551192632-626
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2574142643-1725
18Fulham25410112132-1122
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom2528151955-3614
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2532201541-2611

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