Ritchie - 'It's One To Relish'
Written by Newcastle Utd
Magpies winger Matt Ritchie looks ahead to Saturday's "big game" at Villa Park
By Dan King - Newcastle United Managing Editor
For the past five seasons, Aston Villa v Newcastle has been a Premier League fixture. On Saturday, the two sides meet in the Championship but the Sky Sports cameras will be at Villa Park and Magpies midfielder Matt Ritchie believes it's a match to relish.
Between the two sides, who were both relegated last season, they have won 11 league titles, 13 FA Cups and enjoyed success in Europe. Both are managed by Champions League-winning coaches in Rafa Benitez and Roberto Di Matteo. This may be the second tier of English football but on Saturday, it won't feel like it.
Villa have endured a slow start to the season and are currently in 19th place, but Newcastle are third. And, although United were beaten 2-0 by Wolves in their last league outing seven days ago, Ritchie doesn't believe that will have affected their confidence - particularly as they gained revenge on Wolves in the EFL Cup in midweek.
"Come on, that's seven games out of eight that we've won," he smiled as he spoke to nufcTV this week. "Don't get me wrong, we need to keep our feet on the floor and we need to keep striving to win games, get better and improve, but we're not going to win every game in this league.
"There's going to be games like last Saturday when we do slip up. At the start of the season, when we lost two on the bounce and everyone was panicking a little bit, I think it could have been a blessing. Sometimes it's a little kick up the bum, gives everyone that little shake-up that they need and I think (Tuesday night) showed that.
"We were compact, we worked hard from the front and hopefully that can get the bit back between our teeth. We've got a very tough game on Saturday because Villa are a good side. I know they're not flying yet but they've got a good squad and some very good, talented players.
"I'm sure they'll be similar to us; in the first couple of games, we didn't quite click but now everyone's on the same page and I think Villa will be the same so they have to respected. I'm really looking forward to the game because it'll be a good one.
"It's a game that all the players will look forward to, all the fans will look forward to and as I say, they're a good side. I'm sure that come the end of the season, they'll be up there fighting for promotion so it's a big game."