Aston Villa vs Newcastle – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Saturday 15th April 2023
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we take a look at Newcastle’s trip to Villa Park. With both sides among the best in the league over the last 10 games, are we in more a close contest? Aston Villa vs Newcastle prediction.
Aston Villa vs Newcastle Match Preview
Aston Villa enter this admittedly unpredictable early Saturday kick-off in excellent form. Indeed, the Birmingham club have won six of their last seven Premier League matches, with the only blip being a stalemate against West Ham. They have scored 13 goals in these seven games, averaging almost two goals per game, which is always a very favourable stat for winning football matches. Strikes from the in-form Watkins and Traore dispatched Nottingham Forest at the weekend. However, Villa know this match represents a much stiffer test.
Villa now sit in sixth in the league, just six points off Spurs, and they could be in with a shout of finishing fifth and qualifying for the Europa League. This situation would have been unthinkable at the end of Steven Gerrard’s time in charge as things had grown stale. However, Unai Emery has turned the club around with his positive mindset and superior tactical nous. If they maintain their form, that European qualification is possible.
Newcastle travel south to the Midlands in superb form themselves. The Geordies have won their previous five league games and have seemingly put their issues behind them in drawing too many matches. This run includes a dominant performance against Man Utd, a thumping 5-1 victory at the London Stadium, and a 2-1 win away at Brentford at the weekend. The Bees are strong at the Gtech Community Stadium, and Newcastle inflicted only their second defeat of the season there. Hence, this was an impressive result.
This means that Eddie Howe’s side sits third in the table, level on points with Man Utd but with a vastly superior goal difference (+20 more). The Toon have been good away from home this season – they are third in the away table with seven wins, six draws and 27 points from 15 games. Therefore, they will fancy their chances of winning this encounter at Villa Park. Early Saturday kick-offs have a (perhaps unfair) reputation for being drab affairs, so the two sides will hope the time doesn’t affect them.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Cash, Coutinho, Bailey, Kamara
Will Not Play: Steer
Might Not Play: Fraser
Will Not Play: Krafth, M Longstaff, Saint-Maximin, Almiron
Aston Villa vs Newcastle Lineups (Predicted)
Aston Villa (4-2-3-1 /4-4-2): Martinez; Moreno, Mings, Konsa, Young; Luiz, McGinn; Ramsey, Buendia, Traore; Watkins
Newcastle (4-3-3): Pope; Burn, Botman, Schar, Trippier; S Longstaff, Willock Guimaraes; Joelinton, Isak, Murphy
Aston Villa vs Newcastle Analysis
The Possession Could Be Fairly Even
It is difficult to ascertain which team will have the ascendancy in midfield here. Truthfully, these are two direct teams – Newcastle have averaged 51 per cent possession this season and Villa 50 per cent, and they have similar completed passes totals. The respective coaches, Emery and Howe, will both probably want to have less of the ball, so their teams can spring into life on the counter. Hence, when we often talk about ‘winning’ the midfield contest, it may not be such a victory in this encounter. Quite often, in the hustle and bustle of Premier League football, the team with the ball can be vulnerable unless it is a team that takes excellent care of the ball, like Man City or Arsenal.
Therefore, we see a more end-to-end game where both teams have their spells of ball dominance, and each side have their moments of superiority in pushing to break the other down. Luiz and McGinn must be their usual industrious selves in Villa’s 4-4-2 cum 4-2-3-1. They must prevent spaces for Longstaff and Guimaraes to get on the ball and dictate. The latter has shown his worth all season, and his press resistance gives Newcastle an avenue to find gaps if he can beat the Villa press. Thus, Buendia and Ramsey must come into midfield and try to swarm Guimaraes and the other midfielders, keeping him from playmaking.
Generally, we anticipate a match where Newcastle have more of the ball, but not to a great extent. Villa conceding plenty of possession is by design for Emery. Aston Villa can lull Newcastle into a false sense of security and set traps. In that case, the home side can pounce in transitional scenarios.
How The Teams Could Attack And Try To Convert
Having established a potential flow for this game, how might the teams go forward and try to score goals? Well, as stated, Villa are a direct, fast team that likes to get the ball forward as fast as possible. They rank eighth for shots on target in this season’s Premier League, demonstrating that they are adept at finding positions in the final third and are unafraid of attempting shots against the opposition.
Watkins is still in great form, having notched his ninth goal in 11 matches against Nottingham Forest at the weekend. His pace and dribbling in the left channel are a massive threat for Villa on the counter. If they can win the ball in either of the two deeper thirds, they can feed the ball down this side for Watkins to run at Trippier and come inside to shoot. Villa also have other threats, such as the trickery and incisive passing of Buendia and the rapid pace and forward thrust of Traore and Ramsey. Unfortunately, Bailey will likely be missing, but Villa have several hazards in forward positions.
Newcastle are no slouches in attack themselves. Indeed, having scored 13 goals in their last five games, they have been finding the net more regularly than when they drew too many games earlier in the season. Four of their last five have seen three or more goals in the game, so Newcastle have also been more entertaining and penetrative. To counter this, Villa’s previous six home games against Newcastle have seen two or fewer goals scored (all competitions). Therefore, Newcastle will look to rectify these stats and replicate some of the form that saw them win 4-0 in the reverse fixture.
In order to do this, the Magpies need Guimaraes to run the show. As stated, he makes this Newcastle team tick, and his ability to pass between the lines can set off Willock and Murphy in wide areas. The former has been in good form and is getting into the box often, giving Newcastle a threat. Joelinton is a far less orthodox and maverick left-winger than the injured Saint-Maximin. However, he likely has more of a football IQ. Therefore, the left side should be well protected by him and Burn.
Tripper will get forward on the right, deliver crosses and feed the ball into dangerous areas. However, given Watkins’ form, he might have to be more cautious than usual. Isak will try to hold the ball up in the centre, and his dribbling, first touch, and technique in tight spaces will be vital, as will his ability to take shots and score. Wilson will likely be introduced if he has a bad day or tires. Newcastle have real strength in depth in the number nine position with these two talented centre-forwards.
This game is a difficult one to call. Both teams are in excellent form in the league, and something may have to give here. Both teams cannot win, so at least one side’s momentum will be stalled here. We are tempted to predict Newcastle simply because of how well they are doing and their riding high in the league in third place. They seem determined to qualify for the Champions League now. They will not want anything or anyone to cast aspersions over that likelihood.
However, Villa are dangerous here, and we rate Emery as a more tactically astute manager than Howe. That is not to say that Howe is not a good coach, but Emery is very savvy, and we see him responding better to in game-situations than Howe. The way Villa will set up to counter could also be beneficial if they can win the ball in midfield. This game could be quite back and forth; Newcastle are the more likely winners here for us, but we will back Villa to get the point at home.
Aston Villa 1-1 Newcastle
Aston Villa vs Newcastle Betting Tip – Draw Odds:
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