When Aston Villa fans think of the horror show that was the first part of the 2010-11 campaign, at the forefront of those thoughts is the 6-0 thrashing delivered to them by newly-promoted, Andy Carroll-having Newcastle United at St. James Park. On a more granular level, people love to point to John Carew’s missed penalty as the moment that Villa’s train not only went off the tracks but plowed into an orphanage full of children and puppies. I suppose Aston Villa scored a modicum of revenge by beating the Magpies 1-0 at Villa Park late in the season but real revenge is a not a one goal win in a meaningless game. Nothing less than an epic beat down would heal those wounds that shipping six goals to a mostly despicable club like Newcastle can open.
It's hard to say anyone would have thought that both clubs would be undefeated at this point in the season but that's exactly where we sit today. How they’ve gotten there is not exactly on par with a journey past the Scylla and Charybdis but clubs can't set their own schedules, they can only play the teams that are laid out in front of them. While it seems like a draw is in the cards for this match, Villa has actually won the last four games between the two clubs at Villa Park. Interestingly enough, the last time they lost the winning goal was scored by one Charles “Blazing Roaches” N’Zogbia and a penalty was saved by Shay Given. So screw you guys retroactively.
By any measure this is a game that Aston Villa needs to get three points from. Draws away from home are well and good but it won’t be long until the Manchesters pop up on the schedule. Tottenham and Arsenal are down but they're not exactly as bad as they've looked at times. Chelsea is just as formidable as any season. Liverpool is…well, they lost to Stoke last week. HA! HA!
From all reports, Newcastle was torn open a few times by Queens Park Rangers only to fail in front of goal time and time again. It won't help Newcastle any that exciting and non-British new signing Davide Santon is going to be out with an injury , though Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor seem to be off to a pretty decent start at the back. You'll be pleased to learn that annoying, pony-tailed asshole Jonas Gutierrez is still traipsing around for Newcastle. They've also got the non-British Gabriel Obertan and his oddly-shaped cranium as well as non-British Yohan Cabaye from Lille. What I'm doing here is fairly transparent. Newcastle is more than likely going to line up with five midfielders and play Leon Best up front. Growing concerns about Shola Ameobi’s production are likely to leave him on the bench.
As much as I would love to sit here and take the popular opinion that this game is going to end 0-0 (which it well could), I think Villa is going to come out swinging. I'm excited to see how Alex McLeish lines up for this one. We've seen the same formation and basically the same squad in all of the league games thus far but with Emile Heskey out, we're going to have to see something change. I think it's fair to say that a draw, especially of the goalless variety, would rankle a lot of supporters. Drawing with equal and maybe even fairly lesser clubs at home is not acceptable under any circumstance. We’ve already seen it once in a derby match with Wolves and I think McLeish and company are determined not to let it happen again. The biggest question for me is the fitness of Darren Bent. If he’s had enough to time heal, he should be able to make the difference in this match. I’ve got Aston Villa winning this one by two goals.