Steve Bruce returns to one of his former clubs and there should be plenty of action on and off the field as Paul Higham previews Monday Night Football.
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Aston Villa v Newcastle
Monday 8pm GMT (Sky Sports Premier League)
It's just over a year since Steve Bruce was getting a cabbage thrown at him at Villa Park towards the end of an unsuccessful spell as manager, and while there'll hopefully be no vegetables launched his way the home fans will certainly make their feelings known.
He arrives back in Birmingham four points ahead of his former club though and will be desperate for his side to do a job in front of the Sky Sports Monday Night Football cameras.
The Magpies are, for them, on a hot streak after back-to-back wins and looking for their first three-game winning run in a year. It's almost two years since they won consecutive away games but their performance at West Ham suggested they will be a dangerous opponent for a struggling Villa.
Dean Smith's men are doing about as well as expected for a newly-promoted side, but below expectations to some extend given that they splashed the cash in summer. They need positive results quickly before thoughts turn to them 'doing a Fulham' and heading straight back down.
Villa have played well in patches - they should've got at least a point from Liverpool for instance - but they were subdued in a local derby with Wolves last time out and that performance against a local rival would be a worry given it lacked the basic energy and endeavour you expect as a bare minimum.
Clean sheets have been an issue for both sides - Newcastle have just one on the road and Villa just two at home - and goals have been flowing with three-quarters of Villa's games producing over 2.5 and four of six Newcastle away games also going over the common benchmark.
The eye was initially drawn to Newcastle, who have been improved and effective of late, but they've got a few defensive injury concerns ahead of the game and their resurgence is not quite at the level to trust them to win three games in a row just yet.
Throw in the fact that Villa could well start with third-choice Orjan Nyland in goal and there are enough doubts surrounding both sides to settle for a draw prediction, but in terms of a bet it's best to side with goals at both ends in what should be an entertaining affair.
Prediction: Aston Villa 2-2 Newcastle (Sky Bet odds: 12/1)
Last time out...
West Ham 2-3 Newcastle
Wolves 2-1 Aston Villa
Aston Villa v Newcastle United Opta stats
- Aston Villa are winless in six home league games against Newcastle, with the last two top-flight meetings between the sides at Villa Park finishing 0-0.
- Newcastle are unbeaten in their last 12 league meetings with Aston Villa (W6 D6) since a 0-1 loss at Villa Park in April 2011.
- Since a 1-4 defeat at Villa Park in February 2008, Newcastle haven’t conceded more than once in any of their last 16 league meetings with Aston Villa, shipping nine goals in total in that run (seven clean sheets).
- Aston Villa have lost their last three Premier League games, last enduring a longer run of defeats in the competition between February-April 2016 (11).
- Newcastle have lost 12 of their last 15 Premier League games played on a Monday (W2 D1), though they have avoided defeat in three of their last five (W2 D1 L2); all 15 games have been played away from home.
- Newcastle have won their last two Premier League games and are looking to win three in a row for the first time since November 2018. They’ve not won back-to-back away games in the competition since January 2018, the first of which was also a 3-2 win at West Ham.
- Seven of Newcastle’s last nine Premier League goals have been scored by defenders. Indeed, a league-high 64% of Newcastle’s total Premier League goals this season have been netted by defenders (7/11).
- Coming into the weekend’s fixtures, no side has conceded more headed goals in the Premier League this season than Aston Villa (5), while only Everton (46%) have scored a higher share of their goals from headers than Newcastle (36% - 4/11).
- Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has lost two of his last three games in all competitions against sides he’s previously managed (D1), with his last such match being a 1-3 loss against Aston Villa. He’d only lost two of his previous 27 such matches (W18 D7 L2).
- Aston Villa forward Trezeguet has scored in his last two Premier League games – the last player to score in three in a row in the top-flight for the Villans was Tom Cleverley in May 2015.
Odds correct as of 1347 GMT on 22/11/19
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