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Magpies can swoop in and steal Aston Villa’s limelight

Newcastle United, 7/4 to claim the spoils at Villa Park, have a fantastic recent head-to-head record against Aston Villa, after doing a league double over the West Midlands side last season.

Alan Pardew’s Magpies have not been defeated by the Villans in the Premier League since 2010/11, a campaign in which they also managed to dismantle the Birmingham Claret and Blue 6-0.

History will count for nothing if Pardew’s men cannot convert their attacking opportunities, though, after registering 12 shots against Manchester City in their opening Premier League defeat. Crucially, none of those attempts were on target, but new recruit Siem de Jong could be the catalyst for success, and more potent finishing, in Newcastle’s new-look side.

Expected to enjoy his debut against the Villains after recovering from a calf injury, De Jong has the chance to become an immediate Toon hero in his Premier League bow. The ex- Ajax attacker and skipper netted 25 goals in his last two seasons for the Dutch giants, and is 13/2 to fire home first, or 10/1 to score two or more.

Despite the boost of De Jong’s availability, Newcastle will be still without midfield enforcer Cheick Tiote, but another new summer signing, Jack Colback, has already competently stepped into his shoes. In a promising debut outing, after switching from bitter North East rivals Sunderland, Toon fan Colback was key in keeping City at bay for the majority of the first half.

Fellow debutant skilful Remy Cabella also illustrated he can be a crucial component in the Magpies’ attacking play, and is 11/4 to score anytime to build on his promising first outing.

Pardew’s potential selection headache rests with his choice of frontman. After a lacklustre performance from Emmanuel Riviere, Ayoze Perez, who almost made an instant impact when called upon as a substitute, could be given the chance to stake a claim for a starting spot. The 21-year-old former Tenerife forward is available at 15/8 to score anytime.

Home side Villa, meanwhile, will be green with envy at Pardew’s offensive, and expensive, options. With the purse strings seemingly pulled shut for Paul Lambert, and top poacher Christian Benteke still sidelined, they will be hoping Austria attacker Andreas Weimann can fulfil the role of leading man.

Weimann opened his account for this term against Stoke City, in the Villain’s opening Premier League win, and is 9/1 to score two or more, or 6/1 to net last against Newcastle.

If adequate attacking force is of concern to unlikely partners Lambert and Roy Keane, they can at least be satisfied with Villa’s recent defensive resilience. Against the Potters, new Claret and Blue boys Aly Cissokho and Philippe Senderos impressed alongside Netherlands World Cup star Ron Vlaar, who appears to be staying put for this season.

Manchester United academy product Kieron Richardson also acquitted himself well in the Villans’ opening clash, and is 7/2 to net anytime on his home debut, with Lambert’s boys 6/4 to take all three points.

Joe Cole and Jores Okore are set to return and should be included in Lambert’s squad for this clash, increasing Villa’s chances of winning their first two opening Premier League games, for what would be the first time in 15 years. Despite that record, securing victory for two games on the trot should be enough motivation for the Villans, who have danced with the trap door on too many occasions over the last few campaigns.

The Birmingham-based club have not been able to enjoy bountiful form in front of their home crowd in recent times, failing to impress the Villa Park faithful last term, with a record 10 home defeats and 29 goals conceded on their own turf.