Michael Owen is predicting our upcoming clash with Aston Villa to end in a 1-1 draw next Monday.
That said, Owen’s comments suggest the expected return of Jack Grealish could be key for the home side, with them losing their last three and slipping to 17th in his absence over the past month.
The former NUFC striker believes Grealish is their ‘talisman’ and hints that he could be the difference if he’s fit to start, but backs Bruce to add to his ‘terrific’ start with another result nonetheless:
“Aston Villa have lost their last three league games – albeit against Manchester City, Liverpool and Wolves – and those defeats have coincided with the injury to skipper Jack Grealish who hobbled off at the Etihad with a knock on the calf and has been out injured since.
“Grealish really is the Villa talisman even with John McGinn making such an impressive start to life in the Premier League. Newcastle have picked up 10 points from their last five league games, won their last couple and Steve Bruce has done a terrific job at his home club.
“This is another game too close to call and it is a point apiece for me.“
Owen’s prediction: Game to end 1-1.
I see this being a tough game under the lights at Villa Park and, given we’ve won our last two, I think it wouldn’t be the worst result in the world if we came away with another point.
We do arrive as the form side, however, so we have every chance of coming away with another big win if we can cut through them on the counter as we did at West Ham last month.
That said, they’ll be hoping Grealish’s return is the difference. Villa have had tough fixtures recently, but there’s no doubt they are a different team with him in the side – a player who not only inspired them to promotion last season, but their skipper and key creator with three assists to his name.
He’s also scored twice but, according to the stats, no player outside the top six has created more chances from open play than him this season – with our very own Allan Saint-Maximin ranked second in that list.