Pundit criticises 'all over the shop' Newcastle United and makes Aston Villa scoreline prediction

Newcastle United will be desperate to end their nine-match run without a win this weekend, when they travel to take on Dean Smith's Aston Villa at Villa Park.
(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Writing his latest predictions column for BBC Sport, pundit Mark Lawrenson backed a 2-0 win for the hosts.

Offering the reasons behind his prediction, the ex-Liverpool man claimed: "This is Aston Villa's second game of the week as they look to catch up on games they have missed because of an outbreak of coronavirus at the club - although this one was postponed because of an increase in cases at Newcastle back in November.

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"It has taken the Magpies a long time to get over that, with Jamaal Lascelles and Allan Saint-Maximin suffering from the long-term effects of the the illness, which should be a warning for Aston Villa too. It is clearly not just a case of recovering and returning to action as normal."

Lawro concluded: "So, we will have to see what Villa look like, and a game like this should tell us more about that than Wednesday's trip to Etihad Stadium will do.

"What should help them that Newcastle are all over the shop at the moment and look like they are short of confidence too."

The last time the two teams met, back in June, the Villains claimed a precious point at St James' Park, as Ahmed Elmohamady's second-half goal saw his side take another step closer to avoiding relegation.

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Over the course of their last 14 clashes, the Magpies have lost on just one occasion.