Aleksandar Mitrovic
By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor


Newcastle United travel to Villa Park on Saturday to face Aston Villa in the Barclays Premier League (3pm kick-off).

The Magpies go into the game on the back of a four-game unbeaten run, the last of which saw them triumph 1-0 over Crystal Palace, thanks to an Andros Townsend free-kick at one end, and Karl Darlow's penalty save at the other.

Villa, however, are on a poor run of form, losing their last 11 league games, and have already been relegated from the top flight. Last weekend they went down 3-2 at Watford, despite leading going into the final minute.

When the sides met last December, they played out a 1-1 draw in dreadful conditions at St. James' Park.

Torrential rain meant it was no great spectacle, but Fabricio Coloccini's half-volley edged United in front in the first half, only for Villa to level in the second period with a stunning long-range effort from Jordan Ayew.

Follow Saturday's fixture right here on for on-the-whistle half-time and full-time reports and exclusive post-match reaction, or live updates on Twitter at @NUFC.


Saturday's fixture is the 161st match between the clubs and the 154th in the league.

United have sold out their maximum allocation of 2,900 tickets.

19th December, 2015 - Newcastle 1 (Coloccini 38) Aston Villa 1 (Ayew 61)

Newcastle (4-4-1-1): Rob Elliot; Daryl Janmaat, Chancel Mbemba, Fabricio Coloccini, Paul Dummett; Moussa Sissoko, Vurnon Anita (Florian Thauvin 71), Jack Colback, Georginio Wijnaldum; Siem de Jong (Ayoze Perez 59); Papiss Cisse (Aleksandar Mitrovic 32)

Aston Villa (4-1-2-1-2): Brad Guzan; Alan Hutton, Jores Okore, Joleon Lescott, Leandro Bacuna; Carlos Sanchez; Ashley Westwood, Idrissa Gueye; Jordan Veretout; Scott Sinclair (Rudy Gestede 59), Jordan Ayew

P160 W70 D35 L55 F250 A244

(Last six games - all competitions)

Aston Villa - LLLLLL
Newcastle - WDDWLL

Aston Villa (v Watford, Premier League):
Mark Bunn; Ciaran Clark, Kevin Toner, Joleon Lescott; Alan Hutton, Leandro Bacuna, Ashley Westwood, Idrissa Gueye (Scott Sinclair 88), Aly Cissokho; Jordan Ayew (Carlos Sanchez 79), Rudy Gestede
Subs not used: Brad Guzan, Micah Richards, Jordan Veretout, Carles Gil, Jack Grealish

Newcastle (v Crystal Palace, Premier League): Karl Darlow; Vurnon Anita (Jonjo Shelvey 88), Chancel Mbemba, Jamaal Lascelles, Paul Dummett; Cheick Tiote, Jack Colback; Andros Townsend, Georginio Wijnaldum (Ayoze Perez 80), Moussa Sissoko; Papiss Cisse (Aleksandar Mitrovic 72)
Subs not used: Freddie Woodman, Kevin Mbabu, Steven TaylorSiem de Jong

Aston Villa - 
Jordan Ayew (7)
Newcastle - Georginio Wijnaldum (9)

Aston Villa - Full-back Aly Cissokho is suspended following his sending-off at Watford last weekend, while Kieran Richardson (calf), Rudy Gestede (groin) and Jordan Veretout (hip) are all doubts. Defender Jordan Amavi (knee) is a long-term absentee.

Newcastle - Defender Daryl Janmaat is back in contention after recovering from groin and hand injuries suffered at Southampton last month. Vurnon Anita is also fit, despite coming off with a hamstring complaint during last weekend's victory over Crystal Palace. Fabricio Coloccini (calf), Rob Elliot (knee), Tim Krul (knee) and Massadio Haidara (knee) all remain sidelined.

Eric Black, Aston Villa acting manager: "We have to go out and be extremely professional. We owe that to the fans. That's what we will be doing. Newcastle have exceptional players - I have watched their games back this week. They have good power and pace. They also have an exceptional manager who has managed at the very highest level. The ingredients are there to suggest they are a good team."

Rafa Benitez, Newcastle manager: "Everybody is training well and has the right mentality to approach a difficult game at Aston Villa. The players believe that we can do well and the way they are working is the key to moving forward. Aston Villa are a good team but they are in a bad position because they have lost confidence. They have some good players so for us the main thing is to be sure that we keep playing at our level - if we do that I am confident that we will win."

Robert Madley (West Yorkshire): 2015/16 record - 33 games, 94 yellow cards, 8 red cards

Habib Beye, John Burridge, Franz Carr, Tommy Craig, David Ginola, Shay Given, Marlon Harewood, Stephen Ireland, James Milner, Charles N'Zogbia, Nolberto Solano, Alan Thompson, Steve Watson, Peter Withe

To find the best odds for Saturday's match, thanks to our official online betting partner Coral, click here.

Aston Villa have lost their last 11 league games, equalling a club record. Defeat on Saturday will set a new record.