Since Aston Villa last won five straight Premier League (PL) games 25 years ago, a lot has happened, including the birth of their great midfielder Douglas Luiz, the completion of Wayne Rooney’s playing career, and Real Madrid winning eight UEFA Champions League (UCL) championships! Unai Emery’s class of 2023 has the chance to break through that glass ceiling, though, thanks to an incredible run of play that has put them in the running for European qualification.
The Villains’ most recent victim was Nottingham Forest, who they defeated 2-0 to go into sixth position and remain unbeaten in seven games (W6, D1). Given that his team was in 16th place and staring relegation in the face when Emery took over in November, it has truly been quite the turnaround, but continental football is now on the horizon for the first time since 2010–2011.
Newcastle United will travel to the West Midlands with confidence in the knowledge that they have defeated Aston Villa more often than any other team in the Premier League, winning 24 of their 51 head-to-head meetings (D16, L11). As if that weren’t enough, the Magpies have now won five straight top-flight games, increasing the likelihood that they will qualify for the UCL.
Although Eddie Howe’s team is now 10 points ahead of eighth, the manager urges his players to be focused since “there are still a lot of challenges left.” This is true even though only four of their final nine games were against PL teams now ranked in the top half.
Ashley Young of Aston Villa has seven wins and one loss in his home games versus Newcastle. Callum Wilson, a striker with the Magpies who has scored 12 goals in his last 12 games (W8, D4), will try to break that record.
Leon Bailey is expected to be sidelined for Aston Villa on Saturday due to a hamstring injury, joining Philippe Coutinho and Boubacar Kamara.
For the hosts, Matty Cash (calf) is still out, therefore Ashley Young, who has a wealth of experience, will once again fill in at right-back.
Ollie Watkins might start up front for Villa as he looks to score his 10th league goal in 12 games, with Bertrand Traore perhaps moving up from the bench to replace Bailey.
Emil Krafth, a frequent absence for Newcastle United, is still out, while Allan Saint-Maximin’s hamstring issue will keep him out for a while.
Bruno Guimaraes will once more play through the discomfort of an ankle problem, while Miguel Almiron might make a comeback from a thigh ailment.
Alexander Isak has scored in each of Newcastle’s previous three away Premier League games, totaling four goals over that span. He is expected to keep his position ahead of teammate Callum Wilson.
Possible starting lineup for Aston Villa
Martinez, Young, Konsa, Mings, Moreno, Luiz, McGinn, Traore, Buendia, Ramsey, and Watkins.
Possible starting lineup for Newcastle United
Pope, Trippier, Schar; Botman, Burn, Longstaff, Guimaraes, Joelinton, Almiron, Wilson, and Murphy.
We predict: Aston Villa 1-1 Newcastle United
Newcastle will feel confident about their prospects of stopping an increasingly potent Villa team because they have the best defensive record in the Premier League. The Villa Park hosts’ confidence has risen each week under Unai Emery, thus the Magpies might only be able to earn one point.