Aston Villa v Newcastle United

Rafa Benitez


Aston Villa left-back Aly Cissokho is suspended because of his red card at Watford, so Leandro Bacuna or Kieran Richardson – if fit – may deputise.

Jordan Veretout and Rudy Gestede are also doubts, but Gabriel Agbonlahor could return after his club suspension.

Newcastle defender Daryl Janmaat returns after missing the last four games with a groin injury.

He will challenge for a right-back spot with Vurnon Anita, who has recovered from a knock he suffered last week.

Gabriel Obertan and Sylvain Marveaux, who were both out of contract this summer, have left Newcastle by mutual consent.


Steve Wilson: “When, in 2011, it was reported that Rafa Benitez told Villa owner Randy Lerner that he didn’t want to be considered for the job of manager, it seems the Spaniard knew what he was doing.

“Five seasons and five managers later, Villa are an object of ridicule – even to their own fans.

“Clearly Benitez had his doubts about Newcastle too, hence the relegation get-out clause, but eight points from the last four games is a terrific tally, especially for a side which looked almost as hopeless as Villa during the last weeks of Steve McClaren’s tenure.

“If Newcastle were to become the 12th team in succession to beat Villa they would go to 36 points – enough to stay up in four of the last seven seasons.

“Enough this time? It’ll be close.”

Twitter: @SteveWilson1967


Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez: “We have an important message for the players this week – no complacency and concentrate. We have to be focused.

“I do not see an easy game. I see a difficult game. [Villa] need a win because of the fans, the club and the history.”


I think Newcastle’s battle for survival will go right to the final day, and the fact they are playing Tottenham at home will definitely help them if Spurs have got second place sewn up by then.

Prediction: 1-2

Lawro’s full predictions v world darts champion Adrian ‘Jackpot’ Lewis

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Newcastle are unbeaten in nine games against Aston Villa<!–



  • Newcastle are unbeaten in the last nine meetings (W5, D4).
  • Aston Villa’s last win in this fixture came at home in April 2011 when James Collins scored the only goal.

Aston Villa

  • Villa have equalled their club record of 11 successive league defeats, set in 1963.
  • They have conceded 32 goals during their current 11-game losing streak.
  • The relegated side have suffered a club record 12 home defeats this season. They have only won 19 of their past 88 league games at Villa Park since December 2011, earning just 80 points from those fixtures (W19, D23, L46).
  • Only Derby County, in 2007-08, have won fewer matches in a top-flight season than Villa’s current tally of three.
  • Villa have led in just eight league games this season, holding on to win on only three occasions (D2, L3).

Newcastle United

  • Newcastle have gone four games unbeaten in the Premier League for the first time since November 2014, when they won five matches in a row.
  • However, they have the worst goalscoring and defensive away records in the division this season. Only Villa have fared worse than Newcastle’s tally of two wins and eight points on the road.
  • The Mapgies’ 2-2 draw at Liverpool a fortnight ago ended a run of nine successive away defeats.

SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by Professor Ian McHale at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football matches

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