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

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

Relegation-threatened Newcastle United will be looking for their first victory in over a month when they continue their Premier League campaign at home to European chasers Aston Villa on Friday night.

Newcastle, who drew 0-0 with West Bromwich Albion last weekend, are currently 16th in the table, just one point outside of the bottom three, while Villa currently occupy ninth position in England's top flight.


Match preview

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce pictured on March 7, 2021© Reuters

Fulham's form over the last few weeks has left Newcastle seriously looking over their shoulder, with the Magpies now just one point clear of the relegation zone, albeit with a game in hand on the Cottagers.

Steve Bruce's side, who are also one point ahead of 17th-placed Brighton & Hove Albion, are currently on a four-game winless run in the Premier League, losing to Chelsea and Manchester United, in addition to drawing with Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Brom, since a home success over Southampton.

There is simply no downplaying the importance of Friday's match as a poor result could see Newcastle end the weekend in the relegation zone, and they also have huge fixtures against Brighton and Burnley to come either side of a home game against Tottenham Hotspur at the start of April.

Bruce's team have lost 14 of their 27 league matches this season, which is the third-worst record in the division in terms of defeats, while they have dropped points in nine of their 13 fixtures on home soil.

Newcastle have also only won one of their last seven league meetings with Villa and suffered a 2-0 defeat when they travelled to Dean Smith's side for the reverse game earlier this season.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith pictured on February 27, 2021© Reuters

Villa, meanwhile, will enter Friday's contest off the back of a goalless draw with Wolves on Saturday, meaning that they have only won one of their last five games in the Premier League.

A brilliant campaign has seen Smith's side collect 40 points from their 26 matches, which has left them in ninth position, just three points off eighth-placed Liverpool with two matches in hand over the champions.

Villa actually have at least one game in hand over every other team in the division, while they are just six points off sixth-placed Everton, with a match spare, and will certainly be eyeing a Europa League finish.

The seven-time English champions have been impressive on their travels this term, collecting 23 points from 14 matches, which is superior to their record at Villa Park.

Friday's clash is even more important for the Lions considering that three of their next four in the league are against Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City, while they will also face a battling Fulham on April 3.

Newcastle United Premier League form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • D

Aston Villa Premier League form:
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D


Team News

Jack Grealish in action for Aston Villa on February 3, 2021© Reuters

Newcastle will again be without the services of four key players on Friday as Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron and Fabian Schar remain unavailable for selection.

As a result, Bruce's options for change are limited, and it would not be a surprise to see the same XI that took to the field for the goalless draw with West Brom last time out.

Dwight Gayle and Andy Carroll are pushing for spots in the final third of the field, but the energy of Ryan Fraser could see the former Bournemouth attacker again feature alongside Joelinton.

As for Villa, Kortney Hause and Wesley are still unavailable for selection, but Smith is hopeful that Morgan Sanson, Bertrand Traore and Anwar El Ghazi will all overcome slight issues, while Matty Cash is available following a thigh issue and should start at right-back.

However, there will not be a return for captain Jack Grealish, who has been on the sidelines since the middle of February with a shin problem; the England international has made strong progress in his recovery but will not feature at St James' Park.

Smith could also hand a recall to Ross Barkley in an attacking position, with Sanson and Trezeguet potentially dropping to the bench after starts against Nuno Espirito Santo's side last time out.

Newcastle United possible starting lineup:
Dubravka; Krafth, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Hendrick, Shelvey, Hayden; Willock; Joelinton, Fraser

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


SM words green background

We say: Newcastle United 0-1 Aston Villa

Both sides are in desperate need of the points but for very different reasons; Newcastle have picked up injuries to their three best attacking players at the worst time of the season, though, and we are struggling to see past Villa here. Grealish is not available for Smith's side, but we can see Villa edging a tight contest to boost their hopes of a Europa League finish.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 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.Over 1.5:data


Video prediction

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


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How you voted: Newcastle vs Aston Villa

Newcastle United
13.8%
Draw
18.1%
Aston Villa
68.1%
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Wolverhampton Wanderers' Romain Saiss misses an open goal against Aston Villa in the Premier League on March 6, 2021
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Monday's key events


ATHLETICS
· There are no Brits in the women's 100m hurdles final, but Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, fresh from breaking the Olympic record in the semis, will hope to pip world record holder Kendra Harrison to gold (3.50am)
· The women's 5000m final also has no Team GB representation, but two-time world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya will be looking to add an Olympic gold to her list of honours (1.40pm)

SAILING
· The women's skiff 49er FX (6.33am) and men's skiff 49er (7.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races

FOOTBALL
· A place in the women's gold medal match is up for grabs, starting with an all-North American semi-final between United States and Canada (9am)
· Australia, who edged past Team GB's in a seven-goal quarter-final thriller, take on Sweden in the second semi-final (12pm)

CYCLING
· The track cycling schedule gets underway, with Team GB holding a particular interest in the team pursuit qualifying. Laura Kenny is part of the women's team (7.54am), while the men's team includes Ed Clancy (9.02am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· The Gadirova twins Jessica and Jennifer will both take part in the women's floor final as they look to add to their team bronze (9.57am)

WEIGHTLIFTING
· Newly-crowned European champion Emily Campbell flies the flag for Great Britain in the women's +87kg, but faces stiff competition for medals from China's Li Wenwen and New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard (11.50am)

HOCKEY
· The women's hockey quarter-finals begin, with Team GB last up against Spain (1pm)

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