The Magpies see themselves in a relegation battle again this season. They are just one point away from the red zone. With eleven games left, there is no time to lose starting from now, including this weekend when they are playing host to Aston Villa. The Villans are still sitting on the ninth and hoping to improve their position for sealing Europa League spot. The match is bound to be intense for both sides with different objectives.
The teams’ previous games
Newcastle failed to win while travelling to The Hawthorns stadium last weekend. Steve Bruce’s men could only muster a goalless draw. It was an expected result considering they were without their creative players on the pitch.
Their counterpart, Aston Villa, was also held in a stalemate while taking on Wolverhampton on the road. Their skipper’s absence really affected the team’s form. The Villans were rather unlucky too as their attempt through long-range striker and in the penalty box could only rattle the bar.
Steve Bruce will be having headache in picking up his starting IX for this fixture as his key men are all ruled out. Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron plus Fabian Schar are injured. The only possible formation to deploy with the remaining players in the squad to snatch a win here would be 4-3-2-1. The towering Andy Carroll suits best for the targetman while Ryan Fraser and Joelinton are supporting behind him. Their ability to penetrate and provide passes and crosses could be useful in breaking the deadlock. In the midfield, Jonjo Shelvey will be accompanied by Joe Willock or Matt Richie and Jeff Hendrick.
Dean Smith apparently also deals with the same issue, the absence of star players. Jack Grealish, Matty Cash, Bertrand Traore, Anwar El-Ghazi, Morgan Sanson plus Kortney Hause and Wesley are doubtful to play next Friday. Thus, the 4-4-1-1 seems to be the most possible formation Smith can opt for. Ollie Watkins shall feature as the lone striker supported by Ross Barkley. In the midfield, John McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Matt Target and Trezeguet will be occupying the area.
Players to watch
The Toon Army’s leftover key figures to watch here are the Arsenal loanee Joe Willock, the former Hoffenheim man Joelinton contributing one goal and two assists and Ryan Fraser who has provided two assists so far.
With such key men on the sideline, Ollie Watkins will be one of the few notable names left to count on upfront. The former Brentford man has bagged ten goals and provided three assists. Another vital figure to watch is the goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.
Newcastle vs Aston Villa Prediction
Last season, Tyrone Mings and Co were fighting for relegation while Newcastle was fairly safe in the midtable while this season, the table is turning. Steve Bruce’s men poor form is still unlikely to end yet. Luckily, Aston Villa is currently limping too without their key men. This will be more of a battle without the star. Sharing spoils seems to be the most likely result for both sides.
This encounter is bound to be quite even. The home side is priced to win at 29/10, whereas Dean Smith’s men’s win market is at 13/12. The odds for the draw result is at 34/13.