Newcastle are harbouring aspirations of gatecrashing the Premier League’s usually closed-off top four, but Eddie Howe has the nouveau riche club currently ensconced in the Champions League places a third of the way through the campaign. Next up is a reinvigorated Aston Villa side in their final game before Unai Emery takes his place on the touchline.
The Magpies’ ascent to football’s elite circle was seen as a longer-term vision rather than a desperate dash to the top; however, Howe is doing his best to speed run the process. Under his auspices, the Tyneside club have lost just the single game this campaign, and picked up results against Manchester City, Manchester United and most recently Tottenham, three clubs whom they aim to be rubbing shoulders with.
Villa meanwhile have transformed their fortunes in the space of less than a week. Last Thursday, the Midlanders were battered and bruised in the capital, getting their nose bloodied by a rampant Fulham, which ultimately proved Steven Gerrard’s final act in the dugout. By Monday, they had appointed Unai Emery and defeated Brentford 4-0. Things are looking up already.
Newcastle v Aston Villa match stats
If anyone is going to influence this game for the hosts, then the likely suspect will be Miguel Almiron. The once-polarising Paraguayan is currently in red-hot form and thriving under Howe’s more attack-heavy influence. In fact, he is enjoying his best goalscoring season in the Premier League, netting six goals in his 12 appearances so far, including a recent winner in the 2-1 triumph over Spurs.
Danny Ings netted a brace at the weekend to end his eight-game drought, but Newcastle certainly won’t prove as porous as Brentford. They have conceded fewer goals than any other Premier League side this season (10). Indeed, Howe doesn’t just having Newcastle firing on all cylinders up top without record signing Alexander Isak, but he also has them resolute defensively, a balanced harmony.
13 Feb 2022 – Newcastle 1-0 Aston Villa – Premier League
21 Aug 2021 – Aston Villa 2-0 Newcastle – Premier League
12 Mar 2021 – Newcastle 1-1 Aston Villa – Premier League
23 Jan 2021 – Aston Villa 2-0 Newcastle – Premier League
24 Jun 2020 – Newcastle 1-1 Aston Villa – Premier League
The last time these two clubs met, Kieran Trippier smashed home a deflected free-kick to hand Howe a valuable three points. Newcastle managed less than 40% possession that afternoon and produced fewer shots than Gerrard’s side, but came away with the result and a clean sheet to boot.
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