Unai Emery has turned Aston Villa into one of the toughest tests for any side in the Premier League but can they maintain their form against a side who smashed them 4-0 earlier this campaign? Here’s our Aston Villa vs Newcastle prediction and preview.
Aston Villa vs Newcastle: Quick Hits
- Aston Villa the slight favourites to beat Newcastle in the early kick-off on Saturday, with the Opta supercomputer giving them a 37.6% chance of doing so.
- Two of the league’s form sides set to produce an intriguing battle at Villa Park.
- Will Ollie Watkins find the back of the net against one of the toughest defences?
Something is going to have to give at Villa Park on Saturday between two managers who are riding the crest of a form wave.
Unai Emery won all three of his Premier League games against Newcastle when he was Arsenal manager, whilst Eddie Howe may have lost his Premier League first game against the Villains, but he has since gone on to win the following five.
That includes the 4-0 mauling at St. James’ Park in October, with Newcastle now looking for their first Premier League double over the Villains since the 2013-14 campaign under Alan Pardew.
But if there’s one thing sixth-place Aston Villa love right now, it is playing sides above them in the table. They’ve won four of their last seven Premier League games against sides starting the day above them in the table (L3), as many as wins as in their previous 18 such opposition, like third placed Newcastle.
And there is one bit of additional good news – we are not expecting a draw to be played out here. None of Villa’s 11 Premier League games kicking off at 12:30pm on a Saturday have finished level, winning five and losing six.
Newcastle 4-0 Aston Villa: 29 October 2022 (Premier League)
Although he had been appointed as Steven Gerrard’s replacement, Unai Emery had yet to officially take charge at Villa Park. So, he could only watch on from afar as his new recruits were decimated at St. James’ Park.
It was the first time that Newcastle played a Premier League game whilst starting in the top four since April 2012, and they certainly had reason to celebrate as they extended their then unbeaten run to eight games with this 4-0 win over Villa, capping an incredible October that saw them take 16 points from a possible 18.
Callum Wilson netted twice for Eddie Howe’s side as they recorded their second Premier League victory by least four goals in 2022-23. They’ve since added to that record once (5-1 vs. Southampton), which even more impressive considering they had won by such a margin only once in their previous five top-flight campaigns combined.
Since then, Aston Villa have quite simply been flying. Only Arsenal have picked up more points (42) and earned more wins (13) in the competition than Emery’s charges with the Spaniard implementing his style of play on the side that, at one point, looked as though they might be staring at a relegation battle. Now, it’s quite possible they could be dreaming of a European adventure next season.
Aston Villa only picked up 12 points in their first 13 Premier League matches of 2022-23… then Unai Emery took charge.— Opta Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) April 13, 2023
These are the top 10 sides in the Premier League since Emery’s first Premier League game on 6 November 2022. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/8PhPSlgiTi
Fans have also had plenty to cheer, with Villa having scored at least once in all their Premier League games under Emery, netting 30 in total. Only two managers have seen a side score in each of their first 18 matches of a spell in charge in the competition. One might seem a little more obvious in Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea in 2009. The other – Mike Walker’s Norwich City in the competition’s inaugural season in 1992.
They’ve also been racking up the wins recently, coming into Saturday’s game on a four-game winning streak in the league, and could make it five in a row for the first time in the top-flight since April 1998 when John Gregory was at the helm.
The trouble is for Villa is they are coming up against a Newcastle side who are on a similarly strong run of form, having won each of their last five Premier League, three of which have been away from home. However, only in October 1996 (four) and October 1994 (five) have the Magpies ever won four or more consecutive away games in the competition.
A win will also put a little bit of travel voodoo behind them having not won on their last 12 trips to the West Midlands in the Premier League (D7 L5), since a 2-0 victory at West Brom in November 2014.
Aston Villa: Ollie Watkins
Barring the obvious names, is there a hotter striker in the Premier League right now than Ollie Watkins?
With talks surrounding a potential contract extension at Villa Park, if not a transfer to elsewhere, there’s probably no better time to score in nine of your last 11 league appearances (nine goals).
Overall, he’s scored in 12 different Premier League games this season (12 goals). Only three players – Christian Benteke in 2012-13 (15), Juan Pablo Angel in 2003-04 (13) and Dwight Yorke in both 1996-97 (13) and 1995-96 (14) – have ever scored in more different games in a season in the competition for Villa.
Newcastle United: The Defence
If Watkins is going to have success again this weekend, he’s going to need to breach one of the toughest defences in the league this season.
Having shipped just 21 goals from 293 shots (excluding own goals), the Magpies have conceded a goal from just 7.2% of their shots faced this season. It’s their lowest such ratio on record in a single campaign in the competition (since 2003-04), and the lowest for any side since Liverpool in 2018-19 (also 7.2%).
Only Fulham (-10.3) and Everton (-9.6) have a better expected goals against differential than Newcastle (-8.2) so far this campaign, making up some of the woes in front of goal for Eddie Howe’s side, having scored 48 goals compared to their Expected Goals tally of 51.1.
Aston Villa vs Newcastle Prediction
We said something was going to have to give at Villa Park and luckily for Aston Villa fans, our supercomputer is making them favourites (37.6%) in the early kick-off.
There are some obvious reasons why the supercomputer is pointing in this direction. Newcastle have lost each of their last three visits to Villa Park by a 2-0 scoreline, with five of those six goals coming before half-time. However, the supercomputer did also predict that Newcastle would lose against Brentford, West Ham and Manchester United. And to be fair, with a 33.2% chance of picking up the victory, it’s not like it believes it won’t happen.
Despite being favourites to pick up the victory on Saturday, the overall picture for Aston Villa in our Premier League predictions is not quite as favourable, with the model suggesting they are looking most likely to finish eighth in the table (46.6%). For the Magpies, a top four finish looks increasingly likely with an 87.6% chance of doing so alongside Man Utd (90.4%).