Three Ways for Aston Villa to Beat Newcastle United Away

Mission Failed

If the defeats to Nottingham Forest, Brentford and Ipswich didn’t stop people from hoping for an illustrious play-off spot, Villa’s 3-1 home defeat to Barnsley certainly did. The horrid run of form Villa have endured in 2017 has continued and they aren’t showing any signs of turning it around.

The games keep coming thick and fast and the biggest test of the season is awaiting Steve Bruce in the form of a trip to Newcastle. The Magpies are undefeated in their last six Championship games and sit second in the table. A chance for Rafa Benitez’s men to reclaim top spot will be enough motivation for the players to bring their ‘A’ game, whilst the fans will want to get the upper hand on the rivalry that has been brewing between the two sides over the last decade.

Neither pundits or fans are giving Villa much of a chance in this fixture, which gives Villa a rare opportunity to play the role of the underdog. Current form are a huge indicator as to why Villa are not likely to pick up anything from this match, but Villa haven’t won at St. James’ Park since 2005. Steve Bruce will need to yet again throw something new at the wall to snatch three points away from the Magpies, hopefully this time, it sticks.

Here’s three ways of making it happen…

Bad Memory

Steve Bruce has begun to come under pressure as nobody can see where Villa’s next win will come from. The press has had multiple opportunities to talk to Bruce in the preparation for this television fixture and he dropped this bombshell when questioned about forgotten man Micah Richards.

“I could do with him on the pitch.”

To many, these words have sent shivers down their spines and made them hide in the deepest, darkest corner they could find. The thought of Micah Richards returning to the first team never even crossed many fans’ minds and rightly so.

His last two matches miraculously ended in draws and not defeats to Ipswich and Wolves earlier in the season. But his last appearance in the centre of defense was against League Two outfit Luton Town, where Villa were dumped out of the League Cup 3-1. His dismal performances in this game especially was more than enough Micah Richards that anybody needed to see.

If Villa are to have a chance at picking up three points against Newcastle, Micah Richards cannot start; it takes a special player to make Alan Hutton look semi-competent player.


Newcastle’s table position might make them look an unstoppable force, but their recent results wouldn’t back up that claim. Their last outing was an away draw to Norwich City and they also suffered a tie at home to QPR. Whilst they may not be defeats, they certainly show a weakness in the Magpies.

In both matches Newcastle enjoyed the majority of possession yet failed to make it count.

As good as the Newcastle squad is at Championship level, the squad is littered with players who aren’t at a top tier calibre. This means that the more of the ball they have, the more likely they are to committing individual errors. Whether it be a stray pass from Jack Colback in the middle of the park, or a switched off defender in the form of Ciaran Clark; a sight many Villa fans are all too familiar with.

Sitting back and allowing Newcastle to have the ball in non dangerous areas could become key in winning this game as the false sense of security opens up a perfect time for Villa to strike on the counter.


It may not be glamorous, but a necessary part of football is organisation. A quality Villa have sorely lacked in recent weeks which comes as a surprise given Steve Bruce’s experience. The switching between formations every week certainly hasn’t helped the new transfers settle in quickly and Villa are certainly still paying the price.

The game against Barnsley was yet another game to forget, but an unmissable reasoning for Villa’s collapse can be pinpointed to the lack of team shape. Too often were Grealish, Lansbury and Hourihane drifting out wide, staying too far forward when defending and too far back when attacking. There didn’t seem to be any real set roles for each player and the plan to seamlessly interchange with each other failed miserably.

Kodjia was another who was guilty of this crime, as sometimes he was seen drifting out wide on to the left and at other times, he was back in the middle with Hogan. Whether or not this was planned, it evidently didn’t work. The players that Steve Bruce has are certainly good players, but they’re not the level where they can swap positions with others at a moment’s notice. Against Newcastle, this experiment has to stop and a clear structure and plan has to be installed. Stick to the basics!

The return of Mile Jedinak to anchor the midfield will go a long way in achieving this, but Steve Bruce really needs to decide on one formation and make sure the Villa players get comfortable with it sooner rather than later.


Follow Richard on Twitter here: @_RichardAVFC



  1. Any one who thinks no team has outplayed villa this season ain’t got a clue about live football of the top of my head wolves, spurs ,leeds Newcastle (twice) brentford, Cardiff preston and forest have all humiliated villa this season never mind out play us like to know if you watch the games in braille as it can’t be live villa are atrocious about as balanced as a see saw playing ten minutes good football and then going on to capitulate is terrible Bruce is not the man for us as soon as we realise this the better his tac tics formations substitutions (to change games) are non-existent a new manager now might just have time to save us if we stick with a proven failure it will get worse how can your manager say I’ve not been good enough and people except his admittance to failing as a manager as a good thing only at villa park could this shambles happen he has to go now

  2. We would be better off. half our players have no skill at all, Elphick ,amavi ,Hutton ,baker jedinak,gardener that’s just to name a few .what we trying to gel them into good players (more chance winning lottery) we will only gel them into a league one team at best why Bruce don’t work on the basics which we are sadly lacking if this club hadn’t been in turmoil for 5 to 10 years Bruce would be signing on long ago so what we gonna do get relegated just to stick by a manager who will be sacked within 2 months of next season when we are struggling to get out of league 1(no thanks) Rdm got 11 games as we all thought promotion was a formality (he’d still be at villa if that wasn’t the case) we ain’t gonna win games with out goals we brought all the top strikers this league had to offer we still couldn’t score then it was because our midfield was no good so we brought all the best midfielders in the league and we still can’t create chances why because. Our top scorer is playing left side having to track back all the time (not very good at it either) at one stage we tried to pick hogan out in an attack while surrounded by 5 or 7 Newcastle players and not 1 villa player within 35 yards of their goal absolutely pathetic. mIght aswell of just took a pot shot from half-way and who causes or compounds these tac tics the geordie twat with mad cow disease no one is saying no one is good enough to manage villa just results show Bruce isn’t good enough sick of hearing his got 4 promotions out of this league yes with 3 relegation with these promoted teams so common sense shows his teams regress with him at the helm if chelsea can sack Jose (more titles than Bruce promotions.) we can sack Bruce

  3. ifi offended any staunch give bruce time fanatics I’m sorry but the patron saint of lost causes is not steve bruce .

    • Ah yes but the truthis that we need a new manager every week as nobody is good enough to manage the mighty Villa !
      Another defeat & another demand to sack the manager !
      When will the demands end ? maybe when Villa are the only Non-League side with a training ground fit for a CL team ? Or will Bodymoor be sold long before that time arrives !

      I wanted the club to sign Grayson not Bruce BUT for the 1st time in years we now actually have a balanced team/squad or if not for injuries we would have . But many of our players have been @ the club for barely a month & need time to gel
      But it seems some fans will never be satisfied as it would apear they think footie with live players is no different to that of FM ?

  4. true he is a total prat we need someone like warburton of rangers who don’t moan about his tools, [bruce is a tool]. set up not to lose tonight, not win what a prat league one is now 80 per cent certain to come our way. theres no curse no losing mentality just more bull shit excuses for average to shite footballers, a lot of these players were shipped out by their old club as they were not good enough, but we expect them to be world beaters for some reason. just because a player plays half to one good season don’t make him pele, last year vardy and mahrez were been touted for 30 million each or more. this year would not give 10 percent of hogans price for them. [Hogan 10 mill to much]wake up villa no matter how much experience bruce has got, he will go down in villa history as another blue nosed failure who helped nail the coffin lid shut. bruce out now, this is getting pathetic, we will rue the day. so what 7 managers in 5 or 6 years I would settle for a 3rd this season as of early dec, and if we have to sack him in 6 months for doing a shit job so be it, we will get stability if we put into contracts performance related pay, they get big bonuses for scoring, winning, keeping clean sheets, take a per centage off them for losing, failing to score and conceding goals, and for been in the bottom nalf or relegation places. if the players don’t like it sell them, if they refuse to play don’t pay them, or don’t let them sign for us. the wages we pay for average dross they wouldn’t get anywhere else in this division. they will sign, also the players contracted to this club out on loan call them back make them play for us its in their contract and if they refuse don’t pay them make them rot until their contract is up by refusing to let them play for any other club, with us mugs paying their wages while they play and get injured for other clubs is taking the piss. with all the lawyers you know dr tony this wont be a problem, its time to get tough start with bruce and continue until the jobs done. [post menopausal rant over] lol,lol,lol,

  5. Great team selection again tonight, Baker on the bench what’s that all about, Bruce says himself he’s not good enough and that’s the only thing that he has got right for weeks. Really teed off with all of this rubbish any other club and Bruce would be shipped out, another step nearer the drop zone, when are we going to wake up, get ruthless and take action before it’s too late. Don’t want to hear give him time, come on there is no time. The time is now.

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