Will Villa be on Toon?
Aston Villa will be looking for inspiration from their new signing Stephen Ireland. The former Republic of Ireland international has joined Aston Villa looking for first team football.
He was always a bit-part player under Mancini after the Italian took over last term and the Manchester City 2008-09 player of the year could be one of the best buys of the summer.
He is in the squad for the Newcastle match and is 10/1 to open his Villa account by scoring the first goal of the match. If he gets off to a strong start at Villa, he could help the caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald take over the Villa hot-seat on a permanent basis.
The Scot has impressed since taking over O'Neill and he can be backed at Even money to become permanent manager. MacDonald left several of his first team players at home midweek, he took a weakened squad to Rapid Vienna for the Europa League clash and the young team played well.
They came away with a 1-1 draw and with so many star players rested, they should be quite fresh for their trip to Tyneside.
Newcastle no longer seem to be in a period of transition, Mike Ashley is calm, the squad is settled and there has been little upheaval at St James Park. They did not lose at home in the Championship last season and the Villans are marginal favourites at 7/5 to win in ninety minutes.
The draw is priced at 21/10 and Newcastle are the same at 21/10.
For Villa - Friedal, Petrov, Luke Young and Ashley Young should all return to the starting line-up. Carew should be fit but Cuellar, Collins, Agbonlahor and Sidwell are all injured.
Villa will obviously be without Milner but I think that they had the better half of the deal, Ireland is more than capable of filling his boots! He may take a few weeks to settle into the side but it was only twelve months ago, when the likes of Liverpool, Man Utd and Arsenal were looking at the midfielder.
Ireland's no-nonsense style, commitment to club football and creativity will have the Villa fans licking their lips. Just like Arsenal after the sale of Adebayor, the Villa fans can enjoy their current situation.
His only problem is he may have to re-spray his horrific looking white and blue Audi R8, if the lads at Villa start taking the mickey!
A player that could be England's future striker is Newcastle's Andy Carroll, he is 6/1 to score first against Villa and 6/4 to score anytime. Off the field there have been a few problems with his behaviour but he definitely could make an impact in the Premier League this season.
I think the 7/5 on offer for Villa may not be around tomorrow morning. Newcastle looked poor against Manchester United and Villa should have too much quality for the Toon. The 5/1 for the Draw/Villa in the double result market looks appealing because it may take some time for Villa to step up a gear after the long trip to Tyneside and their midweek adventure!