Aston Villa will be confident of taking all three points when they host a struggling Newcastle side at Villa Park in the Premier League on Saturday (8pm).
Villa’s current league position of 11th somewhat masks how impressive they’ve been so far this season. They’ve played two or even three games less than many of the sides currently above them, and will probably shake out as a top eight side once everything settles.
That is quite the improvement on last season, when they only avoided relegation on the final day of the campaign having spent almost half of it in the bottom three. Heavy investment following their promotion through the playoffs didn’t immediately produce a coherent team.
Aston Villa were again big spenders ahead of the new season, laying down almost £75 million on four new arrivals, in addition to the loan signing of Ross Barkley from Chelsea. Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, full-back Matty Cash and striker Ollie Watkins have all performed strongly as regular starters, while Barkley and Bertrand Traore have also contributed more sporadically.
With Jack Grealish seemingly taking another step forward from his already impressive performance level, and a defensive unit that has been far more solid than last season, Villa look very much like a top-eight team this time around. Their underlying numbers even suggest a run at the top-six isn’t out of the question if they continue as is.
With all that said, Dean Smith’s side could do with a victory on Saturday to get themselves back on track after taking just a single point from a tough trio of fixtures against Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City. With most of the league on FA Cup duty, this is one of their games in hand, one they need to win to remain on a top-eight points rate.
Villa held out for almost 80 minutes before finally conceding away at Man City on Wednesday. Their hosts dominated possession and territory from the get go, getting off 27 shots to Villa’s 11. City got their breakthrough late on before adding another from the penalty spot for a 0-2 defeat for Smith and his side.
Newcastle should make for rather easier opponents. Steve Bruce’s side arrive at Villa Park on the back of a seven-match winless streak of five defeats and two draws. They have scored just once across their last five fixtures. While they still enjoy a seven-point cushion over the bottom three, that gap is closing, and they need to get some more points on the board pretty swiftly.
Bruce’s team were utterly outplayed by Arsenal in their 0-3 defeat on Monday. They were outshot eight to one in the first half and then 13 to three in the second. They went in level at the break, but their hosts rectified that five minutes into the second half, and then added two more goals to consign Newcastle to a pretty comprehensive defeat.
The Magpies finished comfortably clear of EPL relegation last season but had the worst underlying numbers in the league. They did bring in a few league-proven players in the off-season, but their metrics haven’t seen an uptick. As results worsen it is starting to become a case of simply hoping there are three worse teams come the end of the campaign. That is perhaps a fair bet given the points accumulation rates of the present bottom three.
Bruce’s position probably isn’t under immediate threat unless one of the teams below them really starts to improve and regularly pick up points, but it is certainly difficult to see how Newcastle can move forward under his stewardship. If their Premier League place does start to come under threat, owner Mike Ashley is likely to take action.
AVFC were 2-0 winners in last season’s equivalent fixture and can be fancied to produce a similar result on Saturday against a Newcastle side who offer very little goal threat. A Villa win to nil looks a solid bet. So the betting tip for this AVFC vs NUFC preview from Just Bookies is:
- Bet on Aston Villa to win to nil @ best odds of 7/4 with BetVictor.
Compare AVFC vs NUFC Winner Betting Odds from Bookmakers