Newcastle United continue their push for an European spot as Eddie Howe’s Magpies host Aston Villa at St James’ Park.
Victory would see Newcastle go third if Tottenham lose elsewhere, whilst Villa could go as high as tenth with a win if results swing in their favour.
Elliott Anderson is a doubt for Newcastle after he missed their 2-1 win at Tottenham with an ankle injury.
Allan Saint-Maximin (hamstring), Karl Darlow (ankle), Emil Krafth (knee), Paul Dummett, Matt Ritchie (both calf) and Alexander Isak (muscle) remain absent.
Aston Villa could welcome Lucas Digne (heel) back into contention.
Ludwig Augustinsson (hamstring), Boubacar Kamara (knee) and Diego Carlos (Achilles) are still ruled out.
- Newcastle have won just one of their last six meetings against Aston Villa (W1, D2, L3).
- Aston Villa are winless in their last 13 visits to St James’ Park (D6, L7).
- Each of the last four draws between Newcastle and Villa have ended in a 1-1 result.
- Miguel Almiron has scored in each of Newcastle’s last two home matches.
- Aston Villa have kept just one clean sheet in six league matches on the road this season (D2, L4), which came in a goalless draw at Leeds in early October.
Having now entered the top-four and with just two games until the mid-season break, Newcastle now surely can believe that a top-four challenge is possible if they can continue their excellent momentum of this season.
Clinical finishing and excellent defending though proved crucial to their win at Tottenham but now they’re back at home – where they’re yet to lose this season, Newcastle simply just need to keep on performing and taking their chances.
Villa meanwhile come into this game off the back of a ruthless home win over a lacklustre Brentford so I would like to see them bring that same aggressive attack into this match, where they will need to try and match Newcastle in terms of pressing on and off the ball and finish chanes clinically.
This clash therefore feels like it could be one of the best battles in this matchweek but if Newcastle continue to defend solidly and deliver up front, I can’t see them losing this game no matter what Villa throw at them.
Prediction: Newcastle United 2-1 Aston Villa
Result: Newcastle United 4-0 Aston Villa