Aston Villa v Newcastle: Odds, prediction and early team news

The League table doesn't lie, but after four games, it also doesn't really matter. In the good old days, I don't remember them publishing it until a few games in, but that could also be me romanticising about the game.

But it matters these days. It matters to us, because three points would be welcomed with open arms and it matters to the Newcastle fans, who find themselves sitting fourth after four games.


And you know what, the points matter, even this early in the season. Every single point matters and the clubs that finish in the top four know that. Points thrown away are everything, they are what determines where you finish, not the points you have picked up.

I'm starting to sound like a pretend psychologist and I'm not, but we've thrown away points already this season and we will throw away more and it is the managers first season, so this will happen, but if he picked up three points on Saturday, it would be a massive bonus.

A hard team to play

I also fancy that Newcastle are going to be tough this season. It is only a hunch, but like us, they've not lost and if their supporters want to, they can make wherever they go, quite intimidating.

But regardless of the atmosphere on Saturday, Alan Pardew will have his team playing a certain way which will make it difficult, but at the same time, they are not going to be the threat that Newcastle teams of old were.

In their four games, they've scored three goals. Yep, three goals and they have eight points and are fourth in the table, what does that tell you? You are right - it isn't about the free scoring, so far anyway. That could all change, but I think the emphasis on Saturday has to be going all out for it.

Early team news

Emile Heskey is injured. That could mean several things, but one thing it does mean is he will not be playing on Saturday and to me, that means things have to change around a wee bit and I think it could mean Barry Bannan starts.

I'm just sucking my thumb here, but I think Albrighton has to start too, but I don't think he will and you can't drop Gabby and Darren Bent is still going to score 20 Premier League goals this season, or very close to it, so he has to start.

Albrighton wont start because we spent nearly £10mn on Charles N'Zogbia, who probably will start and probably on the wing, so you can see how things are going to change, a little, if Bannan does play.

Prediction and odds

I think I predicted a draw last time out but had a bet on us winning and if I was a sensible gambler, I think I'd have a bet on a draw again. It isn't because this manager sends his team out to draw, it is because he sends them out not to lose - he sends them out to play cautious football and more often than not, that means you're not going to see us ripping teams apart and scoring for fun.

I should throw in a disclaimer right about now, that it could happen, but it isn't going to happen every week. I'm throwing that in, because you know what, we could go and score a few this weekend, if he sends them out like that.

Newcastle are for the taking - three goals and fourth doesn't make sense and we have a confident Gabby and Darren Bent. We could score four or five and my prediction is a home win. No half measures from me today.

Don't ask me why, but when I was writing this post last night I had it in my head that we were playing at Newcastle, I don't know why, but I blame the fact it was 1am and I was tired. When the post published as it was supposed to, I saw it in my Twitter feed and well, I corrected my mistake. If you saw the first version, I can only apologise.