Newcastle v Aston Villa - Saturday 17:30, Sky Sports 1

If Villa are going to survive they will need to make the most of some winnable matches over the festive period as they face West Ham on Boxing Day and then make trips to Norwich and Sunderland. However, they start that run against a Newcastle team who are starting to show signs of promise after back to back wins have lifted them out of the bottom of three and above Chelsea.

Georginio Wijnaldum is confirming why he was named Dutch Footballer of the Year last season and his superb form is a key reason behind the Toon’s recent improvements. As they look for a third consecutive win Newcastle certainly couldn’t have picked a better opponent, with Villa having just three points from their last 15 matches and losing 15 of their last 19 away games. They don’t even have a good record against Newcastle, having not won in their last eight meetings and last tasting victory at St James Park over 10 years ago.

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Newcastle had a W5-D3-L1 home record against the bottom-half finishers last season and they have tended to be a decent side at home even through some troubling periods over recent years. All three of their home defeats this term have come against teams currently in the top seven and with their recent upturn in form showing the potential of this squad they look to have too much for Villa and are worth backing at 2.05.

The problems for Villa are that ever since selling Christian Benteke they don’t have anyone who looks like they can score 10 a season, let alone 20. Jordan Ayew looks their best bet for goals but is still unconvincing, while Rudy Gestede hasn’t scored in three months and Gabby Agbonlahor hasn’t netted in more than nine. Half their defeats this season have come while failing to score and six of Newcastle’s nine home wins since the start of last term have been by either 1-0 or 2-0 scores, and both those scores are certainly worth a punt.

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Newcastle Win and Under 2.5 Goals - 1pt @ 7/2