Newcastle v Aston Villa: Magpies to fly high again with another home win
Andrew Atherley says Newcastle can follow up Sunday's 3-0 win over Sheffield United...
Newcastle v Aston Villa Wednesday 24 June, 18:00 Live on BT Sport 1
Newcastle got off to a flying start on Sunday with a 3-0 home win over Sheffield United, albeit aided by the red card for Blades defender John Egan after 50 minutes with the match goalless.
The manner in which the Magpies made their advantage count was impressive, however, and it was their highest score at home this season. Another positive was that Brazilian forward Joelinton scored the third goal, breaking his Premier League duck at St James' Park.
Steve Bruce made the five permitted substitutions late in the match but appears to have no fresh injury doubts. Matty and Sean Longstaff were not in the squad but could be available this time.
Villa in the mire
Aston Villa go on their travels for the first time since the restart, having taken just a point from two home matches in the past week. They remain stuck in the mire in 19th place on 26 points, one point from safety.
Their solitary point since the restart came through a stroke of luck when the goalline technology failed to register a Sheffield United goal and the match ended 0-0, while Villa led at half-time against Chelsea on Sunday but lost 2-1 after succumbing to goals in quick succession around the hour mark.
Dean Smith has stuck with the same starting 11 for the first two games but he may feel a change is in order now. Mbwana Samatta and Trezeguet could be given starts in an attempt to find some attacking impetus.
Stick with the form team
Newcastle have the advantage of being at home again for this quick turnaround and they are now unbeaten in their last six games at St James' Park. In fact, they have lost only three out of 15 in all competitions in 2020 (against Leicester at home and Arsenal and Crystal Palace away) and arguably they are one of the Premier League's improving teams.
Their home record overall is solid (only three defeats out of 15) but they have been heavily reliant on keeping a clean sheet. Their defence gives them a solid base but the attackers have not scored enough at home, averaging just a goal per game even after Sunday's treble.
That poor scoring rate leaves Bruce's team vulnerable to a counter punch and they have won only two out of eight at St James' Park when they have conceded (W2 D3 L3).
One question is whether Villa will score. They have decent prospects, having found the net in nine of their 15 away games, but Smith's side have not offered much threat since the restart and have lost to nil in their last two away games.
The big problem for Villa is that they have been too open on the road. They are the only Premier League side to have conceded in every away game and their record of W2 D2 L11 puts them only above Norwich in the away standings.
There remains a slight doubt about Newcastle's ability to put teams away but odds of2.38 for a home win look worth taking given the relative form profiles of the two sides.
Villa's stats could hold sway
There is a sharp contrast in the scoring stats for the two teams.
Newcastle are in the top six overall for games with under 2.5 goals and at home they have had nine out of 15 (60%) unders.
Villa, however, are top overall for games with over 2.5 goals and joint-second in that category on the road with 11 out of 15 (73%) overs.
Given Villa's weaknesses, and the fact that tiredness could play a part in the second half given how quick the games are coming, over 2.5 goals at2.18 could be the play.
Aston Villa have conceded 58 Premier League goals this season and have conceded twice or more in 19 of their 30 matches, the joint-most of any team along with bottom side Norwich City. Newcastle are11.50 to win 2-0.