The way things have been going for Newcastle since the turn of the year Toon fans will be left feeling mightily relieved that the Magpies managed to recoup 33 of their 37 points so far, before they ushered 2014 in.
Losing their best player Yohan Cabaye in January was always going to have a knock-on effect, though not even in their most pessimistic of supporters would have envisaged a run of three straight defeats at an aggregate score of 0-10.
Their inability to find the net in Cabaye’s absence has been exposed and then compounded by top scorer Loic Remy missing three games through suspension.
It was a combination of the Frenchmen who last found the net for the Magpies in a 3-1 win at West Ham, though the return of Remy for this match will give the whole place a sorely-needed lift – with the QPR loanee 9/2 to score first.
In light of such grim form it would be reasonable for punters to take Ladbrokes up on the 13/5 about Aston Villa making it four Premier League defeats on the spin for Newcastle and a fifth league loss at St James Park in a row.
No one could back Alan Pardew’s side with any confidence to produce a victory at short odds of 11/10, though shared spoils at 12/5 may be the best of the match-bet options.
Newcastle enjoy a healthy recent record at home to Villa, having gone seven without defeat against them on Tyneside, drawing the last of those 1-1.
Meanwhile, Paul Lambert’s side tend to do their best work away from the pressures of Villa Park, with only West Brom and Everton having registered more draws on the road – which includes two of their last three.
Pardew would be delighted with a point in the circumstances.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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