Newcastle v Aston Villa – St. James’ Park at 17:30 live on Sky Sports 1

Having started the season with just one win in eleven Premier League games, Steve McClaren’s position as Newcastle was tenuous to say the least. However, after back to back wins over in-form Liverpool and Tottenham, they now sit in 15th, 2 points clear of the relegation zone and will look at Saturday’s fixture at home to Aston Villa as one they can win.

The Magpies are starting to head in the right direction, winning 3 of their last 5 matches and showed real character and fight coming from behind against Spurs last Sunday. Two late goals from Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ayoze Perez earned Newcastle 3 potentially vital points but they haven’t quite turned the corner just yet.

After robbing 3 points off Bournemouth, winning 1-0 with just one attempt on goal, the Toon went on to lose to Leicester and Crystal Palace, 0-3 and 1-5 respectively, before their wins over Liverpool and Tottenham. It is this inconsistency that has plagued their seaosn but a win on Saturday will make it 3 from 3 and move them up to the dizzy heights of mid-table.

Backing a Newcastle victory after their start to this campaign might not fill people with confidence, but their strikers are scoring and defence a little tighter, making them a bit of value -0.5 on the Asian Handicap betting market at 2.05.

Aston Villa are in real trouble. They haven’t won since the opening day of the season, picking up just 3 draws from their past 15 matches, leaving them holding up the table on just 6 points and 8 adrift of safety.

Remi Garde took over from Tim Sherwood in early November and held Man City to a goalless draw in his first match in charge. Signs were encouraging, however, Villa have lost 3 of their last 4 since that point against City and even a win today would mean they are still 5 points from safety. Another loss could put them as much as 11 points behind heading into Christmas and surely it would be mission impossible to claw their way back.

Villa have problems in every area of the pitch. They have scored the fewest amount of goals in the league (13) and have conceded 30 in 16 games, only Bournemouth have leaked more.

It doesn’t get much better when you look at the Villains head to head record against Newcastle either. The Magpies are unbeaten in their last 8 meetings and Aston Villa have not recorded a win at St. James’ park in their last 9 visits.

Newcastle haven’t been convincing or consistent this season but are certainly value at 2.05 to come away with 3 points against an awful Villa side.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Newcastle -0.5 at 2.05

Prices correct at the time of writing.

By @SC457.

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