Expectations for these two sides were quite similar at the start of the season, with both aiming to achieve a top half position. For Newcastle, that goal certainly seems plausible, with the Magpies currently sat on the verge of the European places in 6th spot. However, Aston Villa are having a more difficult campaign and Alex McLeish’s men must improve if they are to better their current position of 13th.
Newcastle’s campaign has been nothing short of fantastic and despite concerns from their supporters at the start of the year, Alan Pardew appears to be doing a grand job at St James’ Park. The Magpies find themselves on the brink of the European places in 6th place and with just three points separating them from 4th, they could even qualify for the Champions League this term. It has to be said that Pardew’s side experienced something of a stutter a couple of weeks ago, after suffering defeats to Fulham and Brighton. However, after winning their last game against Blackburn, they now appear to be back on track. Moreover, having won their last three games at St James’ Park, they must be full of confidence ahead of this clash.
Aston Villa supporters on the other hand are no impressed with what they have seen this term. With most of them opposed against the appointment of Alex McLeish in the first place, their current position of 13th certainly isn’t going down very well. However, it has to be said that Villa have made improvements over the last few weeks in regard to their league form. The Villans approach this clash having lost just once in their last six in the Premiership, although having thrown a 2-0 lead against Arsenal in their last game in the FA Cup, confidence could still be quite low. Still, Villa have recorded some very good away results in the league recently and having won their last two and not lost in their last five, some of their supporters may carry some optimism to the North East.
Newcastle supporters are eagerly awaiting this clash for the reason that big signing Papiss Cisse looks set to start for the Magpies. Furthermore, after serving his country at the Africa Cup of Nations, Demba Ba will return to the reckoning as well. On a sour note, Yohan Cabaye is still suspended and will not be featuring. There’s less positivity for the visitors on the other hand, with Aston Villa set to be without three players ahead of the game as Gabriel Agbonlahor, Marc Albrighton and James Collins look set to miss out as injuries hinder them.
This is another difficult game to predict, with Newcastle possessing good home form and Villa producing some good results on the road in recent weeks. Bearing this in mind, our tip will be a 1-1 draw.