There are no must win games, but we have to win tonight if we're going to take advantage of these games in hand. And it's against Newcastle, a team in free fall and managed by a manager that has demonstrated over a very long managerial career that his strength is getting teams into the Premier League from the Championship, not managing teams in the Premier League.
And what I mean by taking advantage is that at the end of today we're going to have played two games less than the leaders and it is going to feel a lot nicer writing that we're eighth, ahead of Chelsea, Southampton and Arsenal. And not just for us, but because we're competing against the likes of Everton this season and they've played one more game than us but are six points ahead of us. That is where we need to be.
And anything other than three points against Newcastle would be a failure today. Newcastle is exactly the type of team we should be getting three points against. Newcastle could be relegated this season and we need to be beating those sides.
There is no McGinn today and the manager I guess will not be in the dugout but these two things shouldn't impact our ability to win. And that is why it's not must win, but anything but will be disappointing.
Match facts from the BBC
- Aston Villa's solitary victory in the past 14 league meetings came at home last season.
- Villa can win successive Premier League home matches against Newcastle for only the second time.
- Newcastle have failed to score in three Premier League away meetings since a 2-1 triumph at Villa Park in September 2013.
- Aston Villa have sustained three defeats in a row in all competitions, conceding eight goals in total.
- They could lose their opening three league matches of a calendar year for the first time since 2001.
- However, Villa can keep a clean sheet in three successive Premier League home games for the first time since December 2012.
- Club leading scorer Ollie Watkins has gone nine league appearances without a goal.
- Ross Barkley has scored five Premier League goals against Newcastle United, two more than versus any other club.
- Emiliano Martinez has kept eight clean sheets this season, second only to the 10 by Manchester City's Ederson.
- Newcastle are winless in seven Premier League games (D2, L5). The Magpies could lose four consecutive top-flight fixtures for the first time since May 2018.
- Their current run of six successive away losses in all competitions is their longest sequence of defeats on the road since a 10-match streak between December 2015 and April 2016.
- The Magpies have converted just 22% of their attempts on goal in the past 11 games, scoring eight goals from 36 shots on target.
- Andy Carroll scored his first senior career hat-trick in his first appearance against Aston Villa in August 2010. However, he has failed to score in the subsequent six league meetings.
- Callum Wilson has scored two goals in nine games, following a run of six in his first seven Premier League appearances at Newcastle.