Aston Villa vs Newcastle United
Villa Park, Birmingham
Monday, 25-11-2019 @11pm
Ref: Lee Mason
Jack Grealish is set to skipper the Aston Villa side in their Premier League home clash with Newcastle on Monday after four weeks out with a calf injury. Goalkeeper Tom Heaton is also likely to play after missing the defeat to Wolves last time out with a calf problem, but deputy Jed Steer is out for up to four months with a partial tear in his Achilles. Defenders Bjorn Engels and Matt Targett should also figure after overcoming a hip injury and concussion respectively, but winger Jota (hernia) and striker Keinan Davis (hamstring) are not ready to return.
Newcastle are hoping Ciaran Clark is passed fit to face his former club after already seeing captain Jamaal Lascelles ruled out until the new year. Lascelles has fractured his tibia and faces several weeks out, while Clark reported back from Republic of Ireland duty carrying a knock. Florian Lejeuene and Fabian Schar are back in training and could provide the defensive cavalry but Sean Longstaff completes a three-game ban and Matt Ritchie is still out with longstanding ankle trouble.
Aston Villa are winless in six home league games against Newcastle, with the last two top-flight meetings at Villa Park finishing 0-0. Newcastle are unbeaten in 12 league meetings since a 1-0 away defeat in April 2011 (W6, D6). The Magpies haven’t conceded more than once in any of their past 16 league fixtures against Villa, keeping seven clean sheets.
Aston Villa have suffered three straight league defeats in the same season for the first time since a run of five in February 2017. Sixteen of the 20 goals conceded by Villa this season have come after half-time, costing them 11 points. Dean Smith’s side have gone seven league matches without a clean sheet and had the division’s fourth worst defensive record ahead of the latest round of fixtures. Their only victory in the past 17 Premier League matches played on a Monday was 6-1 at home to Sunderland in April 2013. Winger Trezeguet could become the first Villa player to score in three consecutive Premier League matches since Tom Cleverley in May 2015.
Newcastle are looking to win three league matches in a row for the first time since November 2018. They’ve not won back-to-back away games in the Premier League since January 2018. They have 15 points after 12 league matches, six more than at the same stage last season under Rafael Benitez. Newcastle could score multiple goals in three successive Premier League matches for the first time since a run of five from September to October 2013. Seven of Newcastle’s past nine league goals have been scored by defenders. The Magpies have lost 12 of their last 15 Premier League games played on a Monday. All 15 fixtures were away from home. Steve Bruce is winless in his last three competitive games against sides he previously managed, most recently losing 3-1 against Aston Villa in April while in charge of Sheffield Wednesday.