Premier League football returns this weekend as Newcastle visit Aston Villa following on from an early season international break.
It’s a welcome return to football after another disappointing transfer which us add just one senior player on a temporary basis although we did retain the services of Yohan Cabaye who in the end didn’t move anywhere.
Good or bad or whatever your view on the transfer window in general, I’m glad it’s gone. We can at least concentrate on football now with little uncertainty until January rolls around. We know what we have to use at our disposal and, like it or not, that now can’t be changed until the New Year and the whole destabilising affair can start again.
Paul Lambert will be without former Magpies Charles N’Zogbia and Stephen Ireland for the visit of Newcastle. N’Zogbia is out after having surgery on an Achilles injury over the summer whilst Ireland has joined Stoke on loan.
Lambert may also opt to give a debut to Libor Kozak. The 6ft 4in tall Czech striker, who signed on deadline day from Lazio for a fee of £7m, top scored in the Europa League last season scoring 8 goals in the competition.
It’s better news for United who have a host of names available once more. Steven Taylor has completed his three match game following his red card at Manchester City in our opening game of the season and is available for selection. Cheik Tiote played an hour for Ivory Coast on Saturday so I’d say it’s safe to assume that he is fit to return whilst Jonas Gutierrez and Mike Williamson will also come back into contention for a place in the matchday squad.
Yohan Cabaye is also likely to come back into the side having impressed with his attitude during the international break whilst Loic Remy should be fit enough to start the game after having an extra couple of weeks to work on his fitness.
United took four points off of Villa last season, drawing at St James’ Park and winning 2-1 at Villa Park. A similar result this time around will be most welcome indeed.
Overall United shade the head-to-head having won 65 of the 150 meetings between the two sides. Villa have won on 52 occasions with the other 33 matches ending in a draw.
Stats and facts…
Villa have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 25 Premier League games.
In the last match against Fulham, United managed 25 shots at goal – the joint-most of any team in a single game this term.
Villa have proved to be more clinical than Newcastle so far this term. The Villans have scored four from eleven shots on target compared to United’s one goal from ten attempts on target.
There is a perception that Villa have “turned a corner” this season whilst we are in turmoil, but a quick look at the table will show that we are still one point ahead of them. Of course it’s also worth noting that Villa have played three of the bigger teams (two away from home) so they haven’t had the easiest start to the season in terms of fixtures.
We have what I believe to be our best side available along with string options from the bench if needed and this is a game we can win if we play to our potential. That is my issue though as I don’t think we will…
Howay the lads!
Date: Saturday, 14th September, 2013
Venue: Villa Park