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Aston Villa Want Revenge on Newcastle

Aston Villa will be hoping they can move away from the Premier League relegation places with all three points against Newcastle United.

The Midlanders earned a 2-2 draw with Everton last time out, though they could have been considered slightly lucky after a Jermain Beckford strike was not allowed despite the fact it went over the line.

Gerard Houller's side remain only two points ahead of the bottom three with seven games remaining, and they need to start getting wins as Villa have only tasted victory in one of their last six games. Bookmakers have the home side as 10/11 favourites to beat Newcastle.

There have been reports during the week that Houllier could ditch Villa's 4-4-2 formation and play only one up front against Newcastle, with the club likely to be out for revenge after they were thumped 6-0 at St James' Park back in August.

The French boss switched his formation for the Everton clash but Darren Bent could be set to operate on his own up front again, despite scoring twice last weekend in a partnership with Gabby Agbonlahor, and he is 7/2 to score the first goal against Newcastle with Agbonlahor priced at 13/2.

Houllier is able to call upon the services of Ciaran Clark for Sunday's game after he served a two-match ban, while Carlos Cuellar, Stiliyan Petrov and Robert Pires are all pushing for an inclusion.

Another player hoping to force his way back into the starting XI is winger Marc Albrighton, and the youngster has told the Birmingham Mail he is confidence Villa can avoid the drop.

He said: "We’ve got some massive home games but we think we’re capable of winning all four of them.

“We also have a good chance of winning some away games but in the run-in anything can happen, anyone can beat anyone."

Villa have only kept one clean sheet in their last ten but face a Newcastle side who are struggling for strikers after Leon Best was ruled out for the rest of the season this week.

They are also set to be without captain Kevin Nolan and Cheik Tiote through suspension, while Stephen Ireland is ineligible, which could leave a massive hole in the centre of their midfield.

Newcastle will be buoyed on confidence after their 4-1 win over Wolves last week but are not safe from being sucked into the relegation places and are priced at 7/2 to win this game, with the draw 13/5.

Villa need to start winning games to avoid the prospect of playing Championship football next season, but there are signs that unrest in the dressing room could be affecting their form on the pitch.


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