The Villa Appetiser: Newcastle v Aston Villa 2017
Only one thing to say…Can Villa finally record a first win of 2017?
It might be an unlikely fixture for it, but the pressure is off. If Lincoln City can beat Burnley away, then Villa doing a job in Newcastle isn’t out of the question.
It’s time for the players to think positively.
Rafa Benitez on Villa
“Some people think if you spend money you have to be (up) there, but football is not one plus one equals two.
“For me, it is proof of how difficult the Championship is. It is easier for a team who have been in the top six for a while to go up than a team coming down.
“If you are going down, normally it is because something is wrong, so you have to change things. You can change half of the squad, but you have to bring new players in and they have to settle down.
“I can understand why it is so difficult for them to do what everybody was expecting them to do. We have also spent some money and we are doing well, but I can see how difficult it is to stay there and be consistent.
“Our fans come to the stadium in numbers and support the team – it doesn’t matter the name of the other team. But, we are talking about a very, very big club who have done really well in history.
“They have very good players and an experienced manager. It will be a great atmosphere, and the fans will enjoy it if we win, because when you have a strong team in front of you, it is always even better.”
Steve Bruce on Newcastle
“Many would say this game should be in the Premier League but it isn’t and that just shows you how difficult it is.
“They have done very well – settled team and settled position – and they will be difficult to beat.”
…and on mistakes
“Of course! Over the last six weeks I haven’t been good enough.
“The three months before that, I was the best thing since sliced bread.
“You learn from your mistakes. I am determined to see it through and I know I am the right person for it.
“Given time, I know I will get it right.”
19th Dec 2015 Newcastle 1 Villa 1
A spectacular goal from Jordan Ayew drew Villa level the last time we travelled to St. James’ Park.
Newcastle – Last five matches at home: W 3, D 1, L 1
Villa – Last five matches away: W 1, L 4
One to Watch
Dwight Gayle – The ex-Palace striker has a whopping 20 Championship goals to his name so far this season.
Newcastle are unbeaten in 10 home league games against Aston Villa
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
Villa will always find new ways to disappoint you.
In both games last week, Villa had chance upon chance against Ipswich and Barnsley, but still managed to lose both.
With respect to the two teams that inflicted rare home defeats on Villa, they’re games we should really be winning, even if the prospect of promotion has all but vanished.
With form now poor both home and away, Newcastle are the last team Bruce would have wanted next. To make matters worse, it’s televised again…
Villa will likely be without new full-backs Taylor and Bree, so a backline that is getting worryingly used to conceding will feature on Monday.
With Brighton sneaking in to first place during the weekend, Newcastle will have plenty of motivation for a Monday night victory. A win would see them return to the top of the table and one can’t imagine they will be anything but confident ahead of Villa’s arrival.
Currently, we have the longest losing run in the Championship, and have gone eight games without a victory. Six of our last seven away matches have been lost, and our away form was bad even when we were winning at Villa Park.
Villa will be working against history on Monday. Newcastle are unbeaten in 10 home league games against Aston Villa (six wins, four draws) since Villa won 3-0 in April 2005.
The last time we won against Newcastle was in April 2011. In the time since then, we’ve drawn six and lost five. It’s not looking good.
“They have very good players and an experienced manager” – Benitez ON VILLA
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
The odds do look to be stacked against us (on paper anyway), but we know how unpredictable the Championship can be.
Our recent home defeats have come against teams happy to sit deep and frustrate Villa, whereas Monday’s match will be a lot different.
Newcastle will be looking to dominate the game and it will undoubtedly be a more counter-attacking approach for Bruce’s men.
Cast your mind back to the halcyon days not long after Bruce had arrived and we actually picked up good results against promotion-chasing teams such as Reading and Brighton.
Newcastle are a force to be reckoned with in the Championship, and at the risk of stating the obvious, the key for Villa could be an early goal.
Newcastle have only conceded the first goal on six occasions this season (a league low), but when this has happened this season, they’ve gone on to lose each time.
Those who are predicting a heavy loss should also be mindful of our last three matches against Newcastle, all of which have been draws.
Newcastle forward Gayle has the joint-most shots on target this season with 43 efforts, but this is matched by Scott Hogan’s 43 shots. Could this be the game in which the hard-working Hogan gets off the mark for Villa?
Despite our poor form the past few results have been a shock. Can Villa provide a different kind of surprise with a televised, away victory?
We’ve got to win a game at some point!
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