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Newcastle face managerless Aston Villa with teams as opposite ends of the table clashing
Newcastle to win 3-1
Tournament: Premier League 2022-2023 | Venue: Newcastle upon Tyne, St James' ParkBet Now
Newcastle have been playing some fantastic football of late, blowing away some of the teams lower down the table and holding their own against the so-called bigger sides.
Their last three fixtures have cemented their rise into the top four, taking seven points from the last nine available. A draw against Manchester United was followed by wins over Everton and Tottenham.
That last game in particular was a brilliant performance from Eddie Howe’s side, who went 2-0 up against Antonio Conte’s side at one stage. Can they stay in the top four this weekend?
Aston Villa responded brilliantly in their last game, beating Brentford 4-0 after sacking Steven Gerrard as their manager. They’ve since appointed Unai Emery as the new head coach, but he won’t be here for this game.
That win over Brentford showed that there is plenty of quality in this Villa squad and they are better than their league position suggests.
Reasons to be cheerful:
Won four of their last five
Only conceded three goals during that period
Reasons to be fearful:
Only scored five goals in their last 10 meetings with Villa
Will be wary of a huge response from their opponents
Newcastle have very quickly become one of the most in-form sides in the league.
A year ago, they were sitting in the relegation zone shortly after their huge-money takeover by the Saudi Arabians. Now, they have just pushed into the top four after arguably their best performance in recent years.
The question now is whether they can stay there. After Villa, they then play Southampton and Chelsea in the league before the World Cup break and they will be eyeing another six or seven points from those games.
Against Villa, they have an exceptional record at home, having not lost at St James’ Park to these opponents in their last 13 meetings.
The best compliment you can give Newcastle is that they haven’t missed the likes of Saint-Maximin and Alexander Isak through injury – they have continued to thrive without them.
Star Man – Miguel Almiron
Scored yet again against Tottenham last weekend and took his goal beautifully. He now has six for the season and, in this form, can propel Newcastle to a fine season.
Reasons to be cheerful
4-0 win over Brentford showed that the quality is there
Appointment of Unai Emery shows real ambition by the club
Reasons to be fearful
Poor record away to Newcastle
Winless in their last seven away games in the league
The thumping win over Brentford proved that not all was well with Steven Gerrard at the helm. Several players clearly didn’t like his style of management or the way in which he set the team up.
Unfortunately for Gerrard, Villa appeared to move backwards during his year in charge, rather than the upwards direction he was hired to take them. Those European places are as far away as they ever have been.
Now, with Unai Emery coming in, the players know that they will need to impress a manager who has been successful at multiple teams across Europe. He has more trophies than most Premier League managers combined.
This will be the final game before his arrival and the players will want to play well and stake their claim for when he arrives next week.
First, they have to overcome a talented and organised Newcastle side who will not be in the mood for handing out free passes.
Star Man – Danny Ings
The striker can be one of the most clinical around when he is on top of his game. Two goals against Brentford moved his tally to four this season.
Newcastle will press forward from the start
Their attacking threat should wear Villa down
Can Villa cause problems going forward?
This game becomes a lot harder to call now that Aston Villa have sacked Steven Gerrard.
When a change of manager takes place, the current players often find a burst of energy to try and impress the new guy, even if he’s not at the club just yet.
Newcastle will feel confident here, however. They are in a rich vein of form, scoring plenty and conceding very few.
With the players they have available, they should take three points.
Newcastle to win 3-1
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