Today Newcastle travel to Villa Park for their first Saturday 3 o’clock kick off of the season.
With Newcastle looking to maintain their unbeaten run this will be a very tough fixture at an away ground which has many bad memories for the travelling Toon Army.
After such a good start to the season we’re going into the game against Villa in fourth place and unbeaten we’ll be on a high and aiming to get at least a point out of the game. Aston Villa are also themselves unbeaten and will expect three points with home advantage.
The big boost for Newcastle is that Aston Villa’s star striker Emile Heskey will miss the game through injury, I’m sure our defence will be relieved about that. But we are without Hatem Ben Arfa, Mike Williamson and Davide Santon ourselves which means that Ryan Taylor will probably continue at left back.
As none of the teams above us are playing today if we manage to get the 3 points, which is unlikely, it means we go above Chelsea in to third place 1 point off the top. If Villa take all 3 points they’ll jump above us with 9 points on the board.
I’d expect very little to change from the game on Monday, maybe a change up front and a change to 4-5-1 but I’d expect the personnel to be very similar. Hopefully Demba Ba gets his chance up front as he’ll be a threat this year.
I’d also expect Aston Villa to start very similar too after an impressive away 2-2 draw against Everton last time out. If they’ll have two ex-Newcastle players on the pitch, Shay Given and Charles N’Zogbia, hopefully they don’t play blinders like ex-players usually do against us. There’s also a chance that Stephen Ireland could play who was once “forced” to go on loan to us.
Last time we played at Villa Park it was an awful game, we started with Nile Ranger if I remember rightly and he spent more time on his backside than he did on his feet. The game ended 1-0 to them, but neither team looked very good and it was a shocker to watch, lets hope it’s nothing like that today. We were extremely weak that game, with a poor bench, something we don’t have this time.
I’d be happy with a point from this game, but what I do want to see is a lot more movement and passing through midfield, which wasn’t there against QPR. Another clean sheet would be really nice, so hopefully the lads at the back can do the business again.
Hopefully the lads can continue what has been a good start to the season at Villa Park today and silence one of the sets of fans that I really despise.
Aston Villa: Given, Hutton, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Bannan, Petrov, Delph, N’Zogbia, Bent, Agbonlahor
Subs: Guzan, Delfouneso, Albrighton, Clark, Herd, Lowry, Gardner.
Newcastle United: Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Steven Taylor, Ryan Taylor; Gabriel Obertan, Cheik Tiote, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez; Demba Ba, Leon Best.
Subs: Rob Elliot, James Perch, Danny Guthrie, Sylvain Marveaux, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi, Peter Lovenkrands.
Howay the lads!