Aston Villa vs Newcastle – Pre-game Assessment

Tuesday, January 30th, 15:15 – Villa Park

Referee: John Brooks

Success never comes with consistency and despite our Villans still being in 4th place in the Premier League, there are fans, and even pundits, expressing their doubts and frustrations at recent results.  For the record, the only Premier League team that has not experienced hiccups this season is Liverpool. 

Even Manchester City, between September 27th last and October 8th, lost both their Premier League games and one of their two cup games.  As for Arsenal, between December 23rd and January 7th, they secured only one point from three Premier League games and were knocked out of the FA Cup.

Our recent stumble consisted of our Villans getting one loss, one win, and two ties in our four Premier League games.  During the same period, we won our 3rd round FA Cup game at Middlesborough and tied an improving Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in our 4th round FA Cup game (replay at Villa Park, next Wednesday).

Of our next three Premier League games, two are at Villa Park and the other is at Sheffield United!  We are capable of sweeping all three games and solidifying our hold on a UEFA Champions League spot for next season!  What an incentive for our Villans to give their all and for our fans to coalesce behind them (of note is that 6,000 of our faithful traveled to London on Friday to make sure our boys felt the love)!  They did, and we almost won the game in the second half.

As for the reason for our minor slip, much of it can be ascribed to some notable absences.  Kamara was missing (due to a three-game suspension) against Sheffield United, Manchester United, and Burnley, while Ramsey was missing against Everton and against Chelsea, with Torres missing against Sheffield United, Manchester United, Burnley, and Chelsea (the latter three players absences were due to injury).

Credit must be given to Emery for not using those absences as an excuse.  His philosophy is that other players need to make up for their missing teammates – tough love, but it makes sense.

The other factor that augurs well for our Villans is history.  On October 29, 2022, just prior to Emery’s first game, our Villans went to St. James Park and were soundly beaten 4-0, and then in the first game of this season, also at St. James Park, we were again decisively beaten 5-1 (and lost Tyrone Mings to a major knee injury into the bargain).  What is more significant is that we recovered from last season’s loss, in part, by blanking Newcastle at Villa Park, 3-0, in April. 

Also of note is the poor run of form that has dropped the Magpies from UEFA contenders to 10th spot in the Premier League, tied with Wolves, coincidental with a horrendous injury run.  Of the seven scorers of the Magpie goals in last season’s and this season’s victories, only Isak is shown as likely to play on Tuesday at Villa Park.  The other six are shown as injured or illegible.

In essence, we are taking Newcastle’s spot in the Premier League, replicating their fast start and dramatic improvement last season with much of the same.  Fortunately, we have a much more seasoned manager who has got us into European competition in his first season and has won trophies for other teams at that level.

So far, so good.

Result Prediction:

Prediction:  Aston Villa 2, Newcastle 0

Predicted Villa Line-Up:

With respect to the line-up, I anticipate that Emery will select Cash over Carlos, with Tielemans and Bailey teaming up with Watkins. 

Emery could decide to start Carlos due to Newcastle’s large players and start Jacob Ramsey if he is 100% confident that he is fit.

Aston Villa: (4, 3, 3) Martínez, Cash, Konsa, Lenglet, Moreno, Kamara, McGinn, Luiz, Tielemans, Bailey, Watkins.

Subs: Marschall, Diaby, Carlos, Zaniolo, Chambers, Iroegbunam, Wright, Munroe, Kellyman

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