Aston Villa v Newcastle, what more could you ask for in a vital must win second last game of the season?
It isn’t a case of getting cocky but a simple statement of fact, this has to be a certain three points and it is even probably an advantage that it is being staged at Villa Park.
The Villa fans are using Saturday as the last chance of the season to protest about the running of the club, the Villa fans hate pretty much all of the players and only a few days ago there were still 15,000 empty seats.
It is only a fatalist attitude that can prevent a Newcastle win, thinking that Aston Villa have to get something sometime and it is bound to happen to us.
The facts are though, that when we get to Aston Villa v Newcastle on Saturday, the home side will have gone 91 days without picking up a single Premier League point.
They have lost every one of their last 11 PL matches and have conceded 30 goals in those games, an average of pretty much three every match.
At the other end they have only scored seven goals in this 13 week period and the only possible fly in the ointment is that four of those seven goals have come in the last two games – however Southampton and Watford scored four and three respectively.
This confirms for me that to remove any possibility of throwing this game away, Rafa Benitez does need to tinker a little with his team selection and formation to make sure Newcastle are more attack minded and take the game to a very poor and shellshocked home side.
During their matches in April, Aston Villa’s possession stats show 35%, 42%, 34%, 41% and 42%.
The last thing we need to do is sit back and give them any encouragement by allowing them to gain confidence with soft possession and the possibility of them sneaking a goal.
The last four matches have seen great game management by Rafa Benitez but the Palace match did show Newcastle struggle with any real attacking threat until the second half.
Attack needs to be the name of the game and in Rafa in trust.