Previously against the Villains, 35 meetings in the Premier League have taken place – 17 wins for the Geordies, 10 draws and 8 losses. At home, that transpires to 11 wins, 4 draws and just 2 defeats; the infamous Bowyer and Dyer scrapping exhibition which ended 0-3 in 2005 and a 0-1 back in 1999.
With that resilient victory over Blackburn, Newcastle have now already have equalled the total wins gained in the 97/98 season, the 98/99 season, the 06/07 season and the 07/08 season (11). Their best win total came in the 95/96 season, where 24 games were won out of 38. Their lowest, 7 wins from 38 in the dreaded relegation season! In their Premier League history, Newcastle have averaged 15 wins per season and 1 more win in his campaign, would see their highest since 05/06 (17 wins).
A look at the past record after 23 games made for some very, very fruitful reading!
This season’s comparisons:
Villa this season
• Only Swansea and Stoke have less shots per game than Villa currently, they get off 12.2 on average.
• The Villains have the 4th lowest possession rate in the entire division with just 44.9% possession on average per game.
• A factor of that, only 4 teams have worse pass % rates in the Premier League. Only 74.2% of Villa’s passes are accurate at present.
• Aston Villa have scored the same number of goals as NUFC from open play (22) but they have notched the least in the whole of the top flight for goals from set plays – just 2!
• Only 3 teams play less short passes on average per game than Villa and only 4 teams play less long balls.
• They do however win the 2nd most aerial duels after Stoke City with 14 wins per game on average.
• Also, only the Scum have won more tackles per game than our Midland counterparts and only Bolton intercept more per game on average – Stilian Petrov & Stephen Warnock are in top 3 (1st & 3rd respectively) in the Premier League for interceptions made per game.
• Finally, only Arsenal have a higher % of shots from inside the 18 yard box on average. 53 % of Villa’s shots in the league have come from there so far.
Darren Bent – The England man has 9 goals in 18 Premier League appearances thus far and he has had the most shots on target for Villa this season – 22. He also happens to be the 2nd most offside player in Premiership per game on average after Emmanuel Adebayor.
Stilian Petrov – The centre midfielder is Aston Villa’s top chance creator with 34 so far and he is their top passer – 794/951, 476/635 of which have been produced in the attacking half, again, the most at Villa.
Stephen Warnock – Surprisingly, the full back makes the most passes for Aston Villa in the final third in the Premier League (298). He is also their top tackler with 43 successful from 64 attempted.
Gabriel Agbonlahor – The pacey forward has had most shots at goal for Aston Villa this season in the top league (44), but only 13 have hit the target.
Newcastle have a great chance to stick another 3 points on the board – Villa are not as competent a team as they have been in recent years and with the fans still on Mcleish’s back, a home tie is ideal to add to our superb season so far.
Whilst it would be amazing to see both Demba’s together, this one may come too short for Papiss Cisse, certainly to start anyway, but Demba Ba is expected to return to the starting line up and oh how he’s been missed! A disappointing time in the ACON for him could be eradicated with an inspiring and goal-finding display at St. James’.
Questions still surround the inclusion and performances of Hatem Ben Arfa and Shola Ameobi (as always!) and Ba’s return is likely to see one of them sacrificed for this one. But, a buoyant NUFC crowd and playing/coaching staff should see the Toon through…..comfortably!
NUFC_Stats prediction: 3-1