Marking their return in empathic fashion over the weekend, Newcastle will be hoping to extend on their eye-catching record either side of the enforced break when they host Aston Villa at St. James’ Park on Wednesday evening.
Putting on a clinic and grabbing a thumping 3-0 win against Sheffield United on Sunday afternoon, the Magpies have now won their last three contests across all competitions and have a top-half finish on their agenda.
On the flip side, throwing away the lead against Chelsea over the weekend and once again failing to collect maximum points, Villa find themselves in the midst of a real relegation scrap.
Only marking their return from the interruption with a highly-controversial 0-0 draw against the Blades, Wednesday’s guests have now failed to win any of their last five Premier League appearances, losing four of those contests.
You might be interested to know, in a contest that famously produced few chances, each of the last eight meetings between Newcastle and Villa have seen under 2.5 goals by the final whistle and a similar outcome in midweek can be found priced at 4/5 with Ladbrokes.
The Magpies flying high
Shocking almost everyone across the Premier League and picking up what was a thumping 3-0 romp at home against European dreamers Sheffield United, the mood in Newcastle’s camp should be at a high.
Along with entering the enforced break with a 1-0 win against Southampton, Steve Bruce’s side have an FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester City on the horizon.
Enjoying their brightest run of form since the one-time Sunderland boss took charge at St. James’ Park, Wednesday’s hosts now sit within touching distance of finding a route back into the top-10.
While Bruce would have been hugely excited to see attacking talisman Allan Saint-Maximin grab a maiden goal in the North East and now record back-to-back Premier League strikes, the Magpies have recently shined at the other end of the pitch.
Keeping a clean sheet against the Blades on their return to action on Sunday, Newcastle have now managed to land three top-flight clean sheets on the bounce either side of the break.
Enjoying by far their brightest defensive run of the season so far, you might be interested to know that the Magpies can be found priced at 2/1 with Bet365 to leave St. James’ unscathed in midweek.
Smith’s defensive dilemma
While Aston Villa may have managed to take what was a shock lead against Chelsea on Sunday, Dean Smith’s side were heavily dominated for large spells and eventually saw the top-four chasers pick up a 2-1 win in the Midlands.
With that hugely controversial 0-0 draw against Sheffield United last week their only Premier League point out of a possible 15, the former Brentford boss still finds his side sat in the bottom-three.
With an unenviable run of fixtures at the back end of the season, Wednesday’s guests should be most concerned by their continued issues at the back.
Shipping a pair of strikes against Frank Lampard’s youngsters in the space of two minutes, Villa have now conceded 58 goals on their top-flight return this year, the worst defensive tally of any side in the division.
Entering the March break with what turned out to be a 4-0 drumming away at the King Power, the relegation scrappers have failed to record a single clean sheet away from Villa Park all season.
Shipping at least a pair of strikes in eight of their last 10 Premier League matches on the road, Smith’s men can be found priced at 5/4 with 888Sport to once again concede over 1.5 goals in midweek.