Aston Villa v Newcastle: Get on goals but expect them to come after the break
Aston Villa host Newcastle in the final fixture of the Premier League gameweek 13 and Joe Dyer thinks the upbeat Toon could trouble the home side
Aston Villa v Newcastle Monday September 25, 20:00 Live on Sky Sports
Grealish back for key game
Consensus says it's been a promising season so far for Aston Villa and yet the table shows them in 17th place just a point above surprise Saturday winners, Norwich. True, the Premier League is more bunched than usual but a good run would not go amiss if they are to avoid a battle against the drop. It's also true that Villa have been on a tough run coming into this one, losing their last three in the league in fixtures against Manchester City, Liverpool and Wolves. However it doesn't get much easier with visits to Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge after this before Leicester come to Villa Park. A win here really would be nice.
Manager Dean Smith has all his first choices available to him including Jack Grealish who's been out since the City defeat with a calf injury.
Newcastle hit form
Since a 5-0 shellacking at the hands of Leicester - admittedly when down to 10 men - Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has overseen a highly encouraging run for the Toon. The five games since have yielded 10 points to lift the Magpies clear of the drop zone and towards mid-table respectability. It's not been the softest set of fixtures either, Manchester United, West Ham and Bournemouth have all been beaten while a point was seized from a home clash with Wolves. The only side to beat them? Chelsea, who could only register a solitary goal despite going off overwhelming favourites. Bruce says the players are 'bouncing' so there's encouragement for the Toon faithful here.
The Newcastle manager is, however, without his captain Jamaal Lacelles. Also missing is the suspended Sean Longstaff.
Villa look a little short
Villa are quite strongly fancied for this at 2.14 to take all three points. Newcastle are 3.90 while the draw is 3.55. I don't find that win price overly tempting . Newcastle's away record is not fantastic but three of their four Premier League losses came against members of the current top four in Leicester, Chelsea and Liverpool while the other game in the sequence - a 3-1 defeat at Norwich - was earlier in the campaign when they were not the side they are now.
Villa's home record is nothing special - two wins, two draws, two defeats - and all in all there isn't enough meat on the Villa bone to have a nibble.
The ledger shows Newcastle don't do draws on the road but there's a first time for everything while that chunky price on the away win holds a little appeal.
Stats point to high goals total
The goals line is split (almost) right down the middle - overs just about shading favouritism at1.96, while unders is available at evens. While neither side screams goals, the stats suggest you plump for the high total. Four of Newcastle's six away fixtures in the top-flight have seen four goals or more while Villa are on a run of nine consecutive games across all competitions breaching the over 2.5 goal mark.
Game should deliver goals after the break
Predicting who scores is a minefield with both teams sharing the goalscoring spoils across plenty of players. The only real hitman would be the home side's Wesley who has found the back of the net four times in the Premier League but has drawn blanks in the last four.
While I can't pick out a particular player to score I do think the goals will mainly come after the break - there's a strong trend for it in recent Villa games and I suspect Newcastle will aim to keep this tight and look for chances on the counter. That should result in the second half delivering more goals than the opening 45 minutes as the game opens up. You can back the second half to feature more goals than the first at 11/10 on the Betfair Sportsbook.
If the game pans out that way you could look to back over 2.5 goal at a bigger price in-play but for the sake of a simple P&L I will just put it up as a back bet!