On Sunday, February 23rd, 2014 Newcastle United welcome Aston Villa to St. James’ Park. Both clubs come into this encounter struggling in their last few matches, so something has got to give come Sunday.
Newcastle have not kept a clean sheet since the 0-0 draw to Norwich on January 28th, so they are pleased to welcome back their skipper, Fabricio Coloccini. He last played on New Year’s Day, so Newcastle will hope that with his return comes leadership and stability to a back-line that has struggled.
Newcastle United also will be glad to see Cheick Tiote back in the mix for this contest. He is just returning from a hamstring injury so it will be interesting to see if he starts or if Pardew leaves him on the bench to ease him back into fitness. Tiote is a strong defensive midfielder, so having him back should also help sure up the defensive frailties of late.
Newcastle have not just had problems letting in goals, but have also found it difficult of late to find the back of the net themselves. January 18th was the last time they scored, so it will be fantastic news to the supporters and the club that leading goal scorer Loic Remy is back from his three match ban. Remy has been The Toon’s main man all year and they are hoping he can return in style and help his side get a much needed three points.
Aston Villa are not in fine form themselves coming into this fixture, not having earned the maximum three points since that wild game at Villa Park against West Brom on January 29th. Villa have been an intriguing side this year in that they have a better away record than home.
Aston Villa are expected to maintain their 4-4-2 system, although they could go back to a 4-3-3. The back-line for Villa has not been impressive this season by any stretch. Leandro Bacuna playing at that left back position has given Villa more attacking prowess and has been their best defender.
Villa’s main man for the last two seasons has been Christian Benteke but this season he has struggled to score goals and it is no surprise why Villa have struggled as a result. Villa are a side built to counter attack and go forward in numbers and try to score. I expect them to come into this game no different and go for it and try to score because they, like Newcastle, cannot count on their backline.
Newcastle United vs Aston Villa Prediction
Both sides are trying to find consistency in the back but also have a number of attacking minded players which makes this encounter quite fascinating for the neutrals. I expect both sides to go for the three points and try and score goals which should make this game quite open. Villa only have 28 points coming into this game and are not safe from the relegation zone, so they need the points badly. This game should involve goals of plenty and I fancy this to end in a 2-2 draw, which will not be the worst result for two struggling sides at the moment.
Newcastle: Krul, Santon, Williamson, Coloccini, Debuchy, Tiote, Anita, Gouffran, De Jong, Sissoko, Remy
Aston Villa: Guzan, Vlaar, Bacuna, Baker, Bertrand, Delph, Westwood, Albrighton, Weimann, Agbonlahor, Benteke
Newcastle United vs Aston Villa TV Schedule
The Newcastle vs Aston Villa match will be televised on Premier League Extra Time at 5:30 AM Pacific (USA). For any other country checkout LiveSoccerTV.