Premier League: Aston Villa v Newcastle match preview

A look ahead to this weekend's Premier League fixture at Villa Park

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The Independent Football

After difficult campaigns last season, Aston Villa and Newcastle find themselves in familiar but unwelcome territory: the bottom half of the Premier League table. The visitors made only one permanent signing in the transfer window, 16-year-old midfielder Olivier Kemen, while Paul Lambert's side have failed to capitalise on the momentum of an opening day victory at the Emirates Stadium.

Libor Kozak, Villa's deadline day signing from Lazio and the top scorer in the 2012-13 Europa League, may make his Villa debut. Left-back Antonio Luna is likely to return after picking up a knock in last month's defeat to Liverpool, although Charles N'Zogbia, a former Newcastle player, remains out with a long-term Achilles tendon injury.

Yohan Cabaye could earn a first league start for the Tyneside club in four months, following summer flirtations with Arsenal and £10 million bid dismissed as "derisory". Manager Alan Pardew has praised his attitude, saying: "He's getting on with the job in hand. He's been terrific and he's just got his head down to get on with life." Cheik Tiote, who appeared in court on Thursday, has recovered from a spell on the sidelines.

KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm                                                                             

PAST THREE MEETINGS…

Aston Villa 1 (Benteke), Newcastle 2 (Cisse, Cabaye), Premier League, January 2013

Newcastle 1 (Ben Arfa), Aston Villa 1 (Clark), Premier League, September 2012

Newcastle 2 (Ba, Cisse), Aston Villa 1 (Keane), Premier League, February 2012

STATS…

Aston Villa have failed to keep a clean sheet in 25 consecutive Premier League matches.

Just 2.2% of Newcastle's shots this season have been converted, and Pappis Cisse is without a goal in seven appearances.

Since the start of last season, Villa striker Christian Benteke has been caught offside 53 times – more than any other player.

ODDS…

Aston Villa to win: 2.1

Newcastle to win: 3.5

Draw: 3.4

TV: Highlights on BBC1 at 10:30pm

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