BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson has delivered his prediction for Newcastle United’s trip to face Aston Villa on Monday night.
The two teams go head to head at Villa Park in what is a crucial bottom half clash, and Lawrenson believes Dean Smith’s side will ease to a 2-0 victory.
“Former Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce returns to Villa Park with his Newcastle on a good little run, after taking seven points from their past three games,” he wrote on the BBC Sport website. “It was not long ago that you could say the same about Villa, who went on an identical run at the start of October, but they have lost their past three league games.
“Villa have not really recovered from losing so late on against Liverpool, and the past few weeks have been a bit of reality check for them. That is what life is like for a promoted team, with as many downs as ups, but I think Villa will be smiling again on Monday night.”
This is a bold prediction from Lawrenson. Newcastle are the form team going into this one, and Villa have fallen on hard times of late. However, player for player the Villans probably have a bit more talent. Jack Grealish’s fitness is up in the air, though, and if he misses out it will be a big boost for the Magpies. Even then, though, the likes of John McGinn and Wesley will make things difficult for the visitors. Bruce will be hugely motivated to go to his old stomping ground and get a positive result, because he probably feels he was harshly treated in the Midlands. He almost guided them to promotion and was then given the boot a short while into the following season. In some ways it was akin to Mauricio Pochettino’s recent sacking at Tottenham Hotspur. While Villa have the attacking talent, they are leaky at the back, and perhaps Newcastle will use their recent top flight experience to ‘big brother’ the hosts and battle to the sort of victory Lawrenson clearly doesn’t foresee.