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Villa may find themselves out of their depth

Top of the table beckons for Benitez's Magpies

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez
1 of 1

Sky Sports 1, 8pm Monday

Their seasons back in the Sky Bet Championship have provided differing experiences for Newcastle and Aston Villa and it seems realistic to expect the pair to go through familiar emotions at St James' Park.

Newcastle are flying and victory over Steve Bruce's side would put them eight points clear of third-placed Huddersfield and well on the road towards an immediate return to the top flight.

With top goalscorer Dwight Gayle edging towards full fitness after an absence of five league games, there are signs that it could get even better for Rafa Benitiez's outfit.

The Magpies have found the net at least twice in ten of their last 14 home matches and Villa's poor away record goes a long way towards explaining why Newcastle are regarded as hot favourites for the clash.

Villa rarely looked like staying up last term and this season has only seen moderate improvement.

A poor run has seen them slip to just six points above the relegation zone and their away form has gone a long way towards explaining their flirtation with another relegation.

No team in the three divisions of the Sky Bet League have scored fewer than their eight goals on the road and they have netted in just two of their last seven away matches.

These are two teams who have vastly different levels of confidence and it looks unlikely that Villa have the firepower to end a run that has seen them fail to beat Newcastle in their last 12 meetings.

However, rather than take the 31-20 that the Magpies win without conceding, taking a similar price about them winning the game after leading at half-time may be a better move.

Benitez's side have scored a first-half goal in 12 of their last 15 league matches and it would be no surprise to see them make another fast start in their eagerness to return to the top of the table.

Recommendation
Newcastle-Newcastle double result
1pt 33-20 Coral

Bet on this game at soccerbase.com


Team news

Newcastle
Rafa Benitez must decide whether to name Dwight Gayle in his starting line-up after the striker made a substitute appearance against Norwich following a six-week injury layoff. Midfielder Issac Hayden is out after ankle surgery.

Aston Villa
Defenders Neil Taylor and James Bree face late fitness tests, while Mile Jedinak could return after a groin strain. Gabby Agbonlahor (hamstring) is out.

Key stat
Villa are winless in their last nine matches.

Newcastle are flying and victory over Steve Bruce's side would put them eight points clear of third-placed Huddersfield and well on the road towards an immediate return to the top flight
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