Now the transfer window has slammed shut and the pesky international break is out of the way, Aston Villa and Newcastle will aim to improve on their mixed starts to the season and climb into the top half of the table – a bare minimum requirement for these huge clubs.
Despite having a match-day squad that cost less than Mesut Ozil, Villa picked up three points from Arsenal in their season opener but followed this up with consecutive defeats against Chelsea and Liverpool.
This hasn’t stopped Christian Benteke (4/1to score first) topping the scoring charts with three strikes and he is likely to be buoyed by the presence of the newly acquired Libor Kozak (7/1 to score first), who was the leading scorer in last season’s Europa League.
Tumble weed blew through St James’ Park on Deadline Day with the acquisition of 16-year-old midfielder Olivier Kemen the Geordies’ only signing.
However, the probable return of Yohan Cabaye (14/1 to score first) in midfield gives Alan Pardew’s men a much more familiar feel.
Last season, Newcastle took four points off the Villains, including a 2-1 win on their visit to Birmingham, while the return fixture was a 1-1 draw.
Perhaps the most significant fact that supporters should be aware of is that Villa have failed to keep a clean sheet in 25 consecutive Premier League matches.
And although Newcastle have only converted 2.2% of their shots this season (the league average is just under 10 percent), Cabaye’s presense, Ben Arfa’s late winner against Fulham and Villa’s inability to defend could mean goals.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing