Joe Kinnear will have Nicky Butt back in contention tonight, after he missed Tuesday’s 2-1 win over West Brom because of an ankle injury.
And captain Michael Owen (groin) will also comes into contention, but we think Kinnear will start both of them on the bench tonight, after Guthrie and Barton did so well in midfield last Monday. If Joe does decide to start Butt, we think it will be at the expense of Danny Guthrie.
It turns out that 22 year-old Spanish striker Xisco is sidelined with a groin injury and will play no part in tonight’s game.
We also think Seb Bassong will regain the starting left back berth over Jose Enrique, because Kinnear will need his best defensive back four tonight, and by his own admission he feels Bassong is the stronger player defensively.
So we think this is the side Joe will start tonight:
Beye Coloccini Taylor Bassong
Jonas Gutierrez Guthrie Barton Duff
Subs: Harper Cacapa Enrique Butt Geremi Owen N’Zogbia
That’s a strong bench, and the strongest we’ve had all season, so Joe can change the game if he needs to by bringing in some top players if required.
The keys to winning this game are fairly simple
- The defense must have one of their best games of the season, with no mistakes and no sloppy goals. We just can’t afford that against a good attacking side like Villa.
We look to Coloccini to step up and have another great game when it matters, as he has done so often for us this season.
- We must win control of central midfield, and if Joey Barton and Danny Guthrie cannot do that in the first half, look for a quick introduction of Nicky Butt.
- Martins, Ameobi, Duff and Jonas must look for goals and look to attack Villa, and we would hope that both Shola and Oba are in top form tonight, and can take even half chances, if they get a sniff.
We also look for Shola to rough up the Villa defense, as he’s done so well in his recent imitations of Emile Heskey. 😀
For Aston Villa, former Newcastle favorite James Milner has won a starting place in recent weeks and looks set to start on his first return to his former Tyneside club.
The last thing we want to see is for James to have a stormer tonight, but we wouldn’t put it past him, and he should never have been allowed to leave the club in the first place. We’re still annoyed about that.
Aston Villa are a good side, and as expected Martin O’Neil has done a terrific job since he took over a short two years ago, but we need the win tonight, and we have a good chance – if only we can get a little luck.
Howay The Lads!!