Aston Villa will look to get back on track against promotion favourites Newcastle United on Monday night as the Midlands outfit look to get their first win since the Boxing Day fixture at Villa Park against fellow strugglers Burton Albion.
After Tuesday’s loss to Barnsley at Villa Park, Steve Bruce’s men must regain their form before they fall into the dreaded relegation zone. Goals from Neil Armstrong and a brace from Tom Bradshaw gave Barnsley all three points on Tuesday night as the new innovative signings of Aston Villa failed to impress again and continued the run of abysmal results. Although Villa’s top goalscorer Jonathan Kodjia, pulled one back, it wasn’t enough for a struggling and woeful Aston Villa team. The club from B6 currently sit in 17th position on 36 points and are only four points away from the relegation zone.
As for Newcastle United, its a completely different story – Rafa Benitez’s men currently sit second in the Sky Bet Championship with a game in hand over Brighton who currently sit top of the league on 68 points, however, Newcastle could leapfrog Brighton with a win on Monday night and go clear by a single point. Newcastle come into the game after a 2-2 draw with Norwich City on Tuesday night. A well fought and passionate performance left saw the side coming away from Carrow Road with the point.
A win almost seems inevitable for Newcastle United on Monday night, however, it could all change with the arrival of Mile Jedinak back into the Villa side after being out the team for a long duration because of injury. The club haven’t won a single game since the Australian international was injured during the Burton Albion game in December; so with the central midfielder in contention for Monday’s game under the lights at St James’s park, it brings hope for some Villa fans.
When the sides met earlier in the season, a late Aaron Tshibola header gave Villa a valuable point at Villa Park as the game ended 1-1 after an own goal from Tommy Elphick gave Newcastle the lead. A game in which Newcastle largely dominated the game, Villa were grateful for the point, however, the Midlands outfit did end the game as the stronger of the sides and came close to clinching a winner near the dying embers of the game.
Overall, this game is huge for both sides; at the start of the season, Villa were expected to be up there with the likes of Newcastle and Brighton competing for automatic promotion, however, after poor management appointments and dire signings in January, Villa now find themselves in the bottom half of the table and hovering just above the relegation zone. Three Points will send Newcastle top and three points for Aston Villa will help them steer clear of the ever looming relegation zone. From a neutral point of view, this game has a lot to offer and is a game in which goals should be flowing.
Villa (Expected): Bunn; Hutton, Chester, Baker, Amavi; Adomah, Lansbury, Hourihane, Grealish; Kodjia, Hogan.
Newcastle (Expected): Darlow; Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Ritchie, Shelvey, Colback, Gouffran; Perez, Mitrovic.
By Jacob Furnell.
Feature Image credit: Martin Le Roy