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Mark Lawrenson with bad news for Steve Bruce ahead of Monday night

1 week ago
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Mark Lawrenson has been talking ahead of Newcastle United’s trip to Aston Villa.

A very long international fortnight finally coming to an end for the two clubs.

Newcastle United have a remarkably good record at Villa Park and haven’t lost since the 2010/11 season.

Overall in league matches in the Premier League era, NUFC have eight wins and nine draws here, with only six defeats.

Quite ironic then that this stadium has been the final match to seal relegation both times under Mike Ashley (the second of those seeing a draw at Villa Park then the Mackems beating Everton to confirm the demotion in 2016).

Aston Villa come to this game on the back of three straight defeats whilst for Newcastle it is two wins and a draw.

Despite that, Mark Lawrenson predicts it will be Dean Smith and not Steve Bruce ‘smiling again on Monday night’ after the final whistle.

After losing to Man City, Liverpool and Wolves, no doubt Dean Smith will be telling his players that this is one of their more winnable games, especially when they have Man Utd, Chelsea and Leicester to follow.

Extra pressure on Villa with Norwich closing to within a point due to their win at Everton, though it could have been even worse as Southampton were going level on points with Villa until Arsenal’s 96th minute equaliser.

The big carrot for Aston Villa is that now they can put four points between themselves and the relegation zone with a win.

They have a number of big players set to return, with Jack Grealish and Tom Heaton top of the list, giving them extra impetus.

As for Newcastle United, with Jamaal Lascelles definitely out and very likely Ciaran Clark too, we wait to see whether Schar and/or Lejeune will be brought back in.

Mark Lawrenson predicts a 2-0 win home win but Newcastle United will be seeing this as a game that is also winnable for them.

A massive carrot for NUFC as well, as a victory would ensure moving into ninth place ahead of Man Utd, whilst it would be sixth place if winning by 11 goals or more…

Monday night with everything to play for.

Mark Lawrenson talking to BBC Sport:

“Former Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce returns to Villa Park with his Newcastle on a good little run, after taking seven points from their past three games.

“It was not long ago that you could say the same about Villa, who went on an identical run at the start of October, but they have lost their past three league games.

“Villa have not really recovered from losing so late on against Liverpool, and the past few weeks have been a bit of reality check for them.

“That is what life is like for a promoted team, with as many downs as ups, but I think Villa will be smiling again on Monday night.

“Prediction is Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0.”

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