Bruce Won't Forget The Cabbage

Last updated : 22 November 2019 By Footy Mad - Editor

Aston Villa v Newcastle

Monday 8pm GMT (Sky Sports Premier League)

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It's just over a year since Steve Bruce was getting a cabbage thrown at him at Villa Park towards the end of an unsuccessful spell as manager, and while there'll hopefully be no vegetables launched his way the home fans will certainly make their feelings known.

He arrives back in Birmingham four points ahead of his former club though and will be desperate for his side to do a job in front of the Sky Sports Monday Night Football cameras.

The Magpies are, for them, on a hot streak after back-to-back wins and looking for their first three-game winning run in a year. It's almost two years since they won consecutive away games but their performance at West Ham suggested they will be a dangerous opponent for a struggling Villa.

Dean Smith's men are doing about as well as expected for a newly-promoted side, but below expectations to some extend given that they splashed the cash in summer. They need positive results quickly before thoughts turn to them 'doing a Fulham' and heading straight back down.

Villa have played well in patches - they should've got at least a point from Liverpool for instance - but they were subdued in a local derby with Wolves last time out and that performance against a local rival would be a worry given it lacked the basic energy and endeavour you expect as a bare minimum.

Clean sheets have been an issue for both sides - Newcastle have just one on the road and Villa just two at home - and goals have been flowing with three-quarters of Villa's games producing over 2.5 and four of six Newcastle away games also going over the common benchmark.

Newcastle have been improved and effective of late, but they've got a few defensive injury concerns ahead of the game and their resurgence is not quite at the level to trust them to win three games in a row just yet.

Throw in the fact that Villa could well start with third-choice Orjan Nyland in goal and there are enough doubts surrounding both sides to settle for a draw prediction.