The Villians go into the fixture sitting in sixth place, having won their last four games while the Magpies occupy the league’s third spot with five straight wins to their name and the form of both teams would suggest that this has the makings of an exciting game not only for supporters of both teams but also for the neutral observer.
Villa Manager Unai Emery is expected to once again be without the services of Matty Cash, Boubacar Kamara and Philippe Coutinho. Cash was injured on International duty with Poland with Kamara and Coutinho are still struggling with their respective ankle and thigh injuries but given the form of his side in recent weeks it is doubtful that the non-availability of the trio will be giving Emery sleepless nights as his team look to consolidate their league position and in doing so strengthen their European aspirations.
Speaking at his pre match press conference Emery emphasised his top six hopes saying “To go to Europe we have to face other teams who are playing very well. For example, we are now sixth but it’s not real because Brighton have two matches less than us, Liverpool as well and we have to wait for their results and then of course we are going to think to be ambitious but realistic as well.
“Now, we can add a new target for the next match; it’s to win and we can be with the possibilities to get the European position.”
Eddie Howe meanwhile looks likely to have top scorer Miguel Almiron available for selection again, while there is a doubt surrounding the availability of Alan St Maximin who is reportedly struggling with a hamstring problem.
The mercurial Frenchman has been in fine form of late and should he be ruled out, Howe may decide to start with Callum Wilson alongside Alexander Isak up front with both players showing their goalscoring prowess in recent weeks or he may choose to slot in Almiron back on the right side of an attacking three and move Joelinton into the left side position vacated by St Maximin’s absence.