If Newcastle can win this game against Aston Villa tomorrow they will secure their safety in the Premier League, which is this season’s number one goal.
And the Magpies are once again playing one of the sides in danger of being relegated, with Aston Villa currently 5 points behind Newcastle in the league table.
It’s certainly a surprise that Aston Villa are so low in the table, since they qualified for Europe last season in 6th position.
But for all the many good players they have in their side, the truth is they have been immensely unsettled by new manager Gerard Houllier, and all is not well at the club.
If everything was OK, there’s now way they would be where they are in the league, surely.
It seems that the Frenchman has managed, with some success, to upset many of the senior players at the Villa club, since he arrived in early September last year.
And whatever they may all be saying before tomorrow’s game, their team spirit may well be questionable.
And that’s one reason Newcastle will have a decent chance of picking up some points tomorrow, but the very last thing we want to see is another defeat against a team below Newcastle in the league.
It would be great if Newcastle could get the first goal tomorrow, but the Magpies will need to be wary of some of Aston Villa’s players, some of which who are top of the bunch.
Newcastle have Cheick Tiote, captain Kevin Nolan and James Perch all suspended for this game.
And Ben Arfa, Dan Gosling, Alan Smith and Leon Best are all out injured, and Stephen Ireland still cannot make his debut for the club, because he cannot play against his current club side.
The good news is that midfielder Ryan Taylor is back, after serving his three match ban for his sending off against Bolton, and we even expect Ryan to get a start tomorrow.
Joey Barton will captain the side, and we expect Alan Pardew to move the influential player into central midfield for tomorrow’s game, in place of the suspended captain, Kevin Nolan.
And we expect Ryan Taylor to get a start out on the right wing – which is probably his best position – although manager Alan Pardew may find a position on one of the wings for young Irishman Shane Ferguson, who has looked very good in the last two games.
Danny Guthrie will also keep his place, deputizing for the suspended Cheick Tiote, after having a solid and uncomplicated game in defensive midfield last Saturday against Wolves, in the 4-1 victory.
Assuming Jose Enrique has recovered from his hamstring strain, this is the side we expect Alan Pardew to field for tomorrow’s important game:
Simpson Coloccini Williamson Enrique
Taylor (r) Barton (c) Guthrie Gutierrez
Subs: Krul Campbell Tavernier Taylor (S) Ranger Ferguson Airey
This will be the first time Newcastle have visited Villa Park since the side were relegated back on May 24th two years ago, when the lads were beaten 1-0, and needed an equalizer in that second half to stay up.
But it was not to be, and the side lacked fight and passion, even though the game was so important for the Newcastle United club.
It will be a big chance for 10 of those players who were involved two years ago, to pay the Newcastle fans back, for that absolutely pathetic display of guts and courage.
And at the very least, we expect to see the lads in black and white stripes play their hearts out tomorrow.
It will take a good performance from Aston Villa tomorrow, for them to get the better of a Newcastle side, who will want to do well in this particular game and will have lots of motivation to win the game.
Aston Villa certainly have the players, but they wouldn’t be 5th bottom of the league at the moment, with just 1 point from their last three games, if they were playing well as a team, and football is a team game.
We have to hope that record is not improved too much after tomorrow’s game ends.
A draw would be a good result for Newcastle, and take them to 40 points on the season, and a win would be fantastic, and herald almost certain safety for the club this season.
And if Newcastle do secure their safety tomorrow afternoon with a win, some irony will not be missed on Newcastle fans, since the club were relegated there the last time they visited Villa Park.
Howay The Lads!!