I am scared to death of this weekend’s match. There, I’ve said it. You all know why. While Newcastle are giving the appearances of finally turning their season around following consecutive victories over an in-form Liverpool and a Spurs side that could have entered the top four if they had not suffered an improbable late defeat on Sunday, they have losses to Swansea and the scum below them to match. Even though Newcastle have scratched themselves up to sixth place in the form table and out of the relegation zone in the table proper, looks can be deceiving as the old adage goes.
Aston Villa hold a special place in the hearts of the Toon Army. You all know why. If you need refreshing, feel free to check out this little primer we did for the lads back in February. That match particular match saw Newcastle defeat Aston Villa and new manager Tim Sherwood (who had been heavily linked by oddsmakers to the Newcastle position following Alan Pardew's departure at the New Year... just like Remi Garde had been.) thanks to a Papiss Cissé goal. This match will see the situation much the same. Villa are, of course, sitting at the foot of the table and are 6 points adrift of the makems. They are 8 points and 8 goals (net positive goal differential) from safety. They are 19th in the form table. They have taken 1 point from their last 6 away matches. Everything sits there and points toward a conclusion that "Newcastle should do the business here".
This is exactly why the match scares me to death. Surely Villa are going to have to snap out of their funk sooner or later. It's entirely possible that Newcastle's recent form is a false dawn along the lines of every November in the Alan Pardew era. It's sadly what we've come to expect from Newcastle over a period of years... but it's an opportunity for Steve McClaren to start proving that things can change. If the club manage to pull the result this weekend, it might a chance to breathe and re-assess what this season is or can be. If we do not carry on our form and give Aston Villa a purchase in this Premier League season, it's right back to the hand-wringing that was the default setting prior to the Liverpool match.