Newcastle have only one win in eight matches under John Carver. The club continues to be decimated by injuries. And aspirations for a top seven position in the table are all but diminished. The club remains in 11th position, four points behind Stoke City for tenth.
Aston Villa is hoping that former Spurs manager Tim Sherwood could engineer a turnaround. The Claret and Blue are second from the bottom but level on points with Burnley and Queens Park Rangers. A win could see them move out of the relegation zone. This match will be a battle between two proud clubs looking to turn their fortunes around.
Injuries and Suspensions
Injuries have certainly not made John Carver’s life any easier. Rémy Cabella was forced to sit out last weekend’s match against Manchester City with an apparent knee injury. The injury is not thought to be seriously but he remains a doubt for this weekend. Daryl Janmaat was forced off against City because of a groin problem and could miss the match as well.
Paul Dummett and Cheick Tioté are also battling knee injuries and remain doubtful for the match. Rob Eliott (thigh muscle), Rolando Aarons (Hamstring), Jonas Gutierrez (cancer recovery), Siem de Jong (Collapsed Lung) and Steven Taylor (ruptured Achilles) are all expected to be out longer.
Aston Villa are a relatively healthy club. Ron Vlaar was sent off against Stoke City last weekend and will be suspended for the match. Swiss defender Philippe Senderos could make his return from a calf injury this weekend. English midfielder Kieran Richardson was forced off last weekend because of a calf injury as well. His status is uncertain.
Possible Line-Ups and Tactics
John Carver has yet to really make his presence felt as Newcastle manager. Squad selections and tactics remain largely the same when Alan Pardew was at the helm. For much of this season, the club has used the 4-2-3-1 formation. However, the club’s recent form and injuries could force Carver to change his strategy.
The Magpies have significant concerns in defense in particular. If Daryl Janmaat is unable to play, the club will be very light at the back. Ryan Taylor could take his place but that will mean that the club will be very vulnerable on the backline. Cabella is the most likely to return. But Tioté and Dummett are serious doubts.
Tim Sherwood used the 4-3-3 formation in Aston Villa’s defeat to Stoke City last weekend. The loss of Vlaar is a significant one. However, Villa’s major concerns do not lie with defending. The club has only conceded 36 goals in 26 matches, which puts them in the middle of the pack. The problem is generating offense.
Aston Villa has only scored 13 goals this season which is last in the Premier League. Sunderland comes closest to them with 22. Andreas Weimann and Gabriel Agbonlahor lead the club in goals with just three each. Christian Benteke is next with two, which is a major comedown for a player who scored 10 and 19 over the last two seasons.
Aston Villa is staring relegation in the face. And there is nothing more dangerous than a desperate club. Many players will be playing to save their jobs. Tim Sherwood has his work cut out for him. Villa are without a victory in the league in their last eleven matches. And they have lost five consecutive matches.
In contrast, Newcastle are only marginally better. The club is coming off a 5-0 thrashing by Manchester City. And they are without a victory in their last three matches. Newcastle fans will be out in large numbers on Saturday as they always are. The club has not given them much to celebrate recently. The Magpies have only one win in their last five at home.
Aston Villa showed some life last weekend against Stoke City but were ultimately undone by Vlaar’s red card. Despite their troubles, Villa should not be taken lightly. Although the absence of Vlaar leaves them with more concerns at the back. But Newcastle should be able to take advantage of a struggling Villa club. Newcastle get some relief by winning in front of their fans.
Newcastle United 2 – 0 Aston Villa