Newcastle have a chance to retake top spot in the Championship tonight as they take on a struggling Aston Villa side at St James Park (KO 20:00).
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It’s very much been two different tales this season for the two former Premier League sides, with Newcastle going into this clash as heavy favourites as Rafa Benitez’s side eye a return to the summit of England’s second tier.
Despite both teams arguably having some of the best players around when it comes to the English second division, only one of the sides has lived up to this expectation.
This can be said for Newcastle, as the side who were tipped as favourites to be re-promoted to the Premier League this season, having a good quality squad with the likes of Dwight Gayle, Jonjo Shelvey and Yoan Gouffran, and a Champions League winning manager in Rafa Benitez.
As a result, the Magpies sit comfortably at the top end of the table, just two points behind league leaders Brighton and Hove Albion with a game in hand.
Mohamed Diame, Christian Atsu and Isaac Hayden could all return to the starting line up for Newcastle as Rafa looks to keep track of the Seagulls at the top of the league.
Villa on the other hand, have really been struggling, much like their previous season which saw them relegated rock bottom of English top flight football, and a relegation fight looks on the cards with Steve Bruce’s side taken a sudden nose dive in form.
Despite many believing that Villa have some of the best players in the league, a loyal fan base and with the club having made some big signings such as that of Mile Jedinak this season, the side have ultimately really struggled.
Having now gone without a win in a total of 8 Championship matches, having lost six of their last seven, Villa now find themselves having slipped down the table to a pretty shocking 17th place, now sitting just 6 points off the relegation zone, and the pressure is really building on Steve Bruce.
As a result, Newcastle are heavy favourites to pick up the 3 points on home turf tonight and the 4/7 on offer is sure to appeal to many.
It seems very unlikely that Villa will be able to pick themselves back up in their travels to St. James’ Park, with Newcastle having gone unbeaten in their last six and looking in confident mood.
With Dwight Gayle also likely to return to the starting 11, having come off the bench against Norwich, and with Aston Villa really struggling to find the back of the net of late, having scored just 5 goals in their previous 8 games, we can expect a win to nil for the Magpies, which can be backed at a nice looking 13/8.
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