Newcastle Aston Villa Odds: Darren Bent looking value to score first

Newcastle will be looking to consolidate their position in the top five of the Premier League this weekend when they meet mid-table Aston Villa at the Sports Direct Arena.

Alan Pardew’s men have had a fantastic season so far of course and after the 2-0 victory at Blackburn during the week, they found themselves in 5th position, a single point above Liverpool.

They have ambitions to stay there too. In fact, after the valuable win at Ewood Park, Pardew said that their next target was to push Chelsea for 4th position.

If they are to do this, their home form needs to remain strong. They have only lost twice on home soil this season, winning their last three in front of their home fans across all competitions.

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Aston Villa will come into this game looking to get something though. They may well sit seven places and eleven points behind Newcastle, but they will want to compete on Sunday afternoon.

As far as their form goes, January was definitely a mixed month. They managed an excellent 3-2 victory at midlands rivals Wolves, but also suffered defeats to Swansea and Arsenal in the Premier League and FA Cup respectively.

February then began with a 2-2 draw at home to Queens Park Rangers, although they did managed to fight back from 2-0 down in this one. They are crying out for some regular victories though.

Otherwise, it will be a distinctly average season for them.

Looking at the team news for this Sunday lunch-time kick-off, Newcastle are set to welcome back leading scorer Demba Ba after his return from the African Cup of Nations and he could partner new signing Papiss Demba Cisse in attack.

For Villa, Gabriel Agbonlahor is a doubt with a hamstring problem, while Marc Albrighton and James Collins are also set for late fitness tests.

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