Aston Villa v Newcastle 2016
Just over 42,000 Villa fans were at Villa Park in 2009 when victory over Newcastle saw Alan Shearer’s men relegated.
Now the Newcastle fans will be hoping to both get a bit of revenge over Championship-bound Villa and also secure vital points as they look to avoid the drop.
In contrast to Villa, Newcastle have a lot to play for, and will be confident following their recent Benitez-led resurgence. But Villa have been scoring goals recently – can we drag Newcastle down with us?
Black on Newcastle
“Newcastle United have exceptional players with an exceptional manager who has managed at the highest level.
“It’s important this club get the right manager, however long it takes. It’s worth waiting for.
“The Watford performance gives me encouragement – but not getting the win was difficult to take.
“We have to ensure more of the same performance-wise on Saturday and give something back to the fans.”
Benitez on Villa
“We have to approach the game with the right mentality and cannot go there and think it will be an easy game.
“They know – we have been talking about that. We will encourage them to approach the game like a final.
“We have seen the last games of Aston Villa and they did well against Watford, they did really well.
“We play against Spurs in the last game, but the next one is the most important one because win this and we approach it with the fans behind us and it will be easier to keep everyone on their toes and motivated.
“For this game we need to be sure that we are focused, and we can’t lose our concentration.”
benitez has faced Villa 14 times as a manager – and only lost once
23rd August 2014 Villa 0 Newcastle 0
The seemingly-solid pairing of Vlaar and Senderos continued as the points were shared at Villa Park.
Villa – Last five matches at home: L 5
Newcastle – Last five matches away: D 1, L 4
One to Watch
Andros Townsend – The England international has scored more Premier League goals for Newcastle in 11 appearances (4) than he managed for Spurs – in 50 games (3!).
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
As Newcastle head to Villa Park, they’ll be confident of adding more misery to Villa’s season – and who can blame them?
We have won none of our last nine Premier League games against Newcastle United – and that’s before we take into account their Spanish saviour.
Rafa Benitez, who started his season in charge at Real Madrid was (if you needed, or wanted reminding) the mastermind behind Chelsea’s 8-0 demolition.
If that wasn’t enough, Rafa has faced Villa 14 times as a manager – and only lost once.
Victories over Swansea and Pardew’s Palace (as well as impressive draws against Man City and Liverpool) have really changed the mood in the Newcastle ranks, and a win at Villa Park could be vital in securing Premier League safety.
The Watford game highlighted how Villa can always find a way to lose a game, and you’d have to be quite the optimist to see anything other than a defeat on Saturday.
“It’s important this club get the right manager, however long it takes. It’s worth waiting for” – eric black
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag (for the optimistic)
Since a difficult start to his Newcastle reign, Rafa seems to have his team heading in the right direction. They’re on a four-match unbeaten run, and Premier League safety is in sight.
Despite this, it might not be a walk in the park for Newcastle. It’s difficult to envision that Villa’s players will serve up anything other than the rubbish we’ve seen all season, but it could still be a cagey affair.
History backs that up too. There have been just four goals scored in the last four league meetings between the two teams, and we played reasonably well in the reverse fixture this season.
Newcastle’s fight-back to draw 2-2 against Liverpool was an impressive result, but their away stats are worth mentioning. That was their only point on the road in 2016, and was a result that ended a run of nine consecutive away defeats.
Villa somehow bottled last Saturday’s game, despite leading twice against a team with little to play for, so a cynical approach to the Newcastle game is understandable.
We’ve hoped in previous articles that the players are looking to impress the future manager, but in true Villa form, even that announcement doesn’t seem close.
All we can hope is that Villa’s footballing misery is spared, for another defeat would set a new club record for the longest run of league losses…
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