Aston Villa v Newcastle preview
Both sides are unbeaten and have mean defences
Last Updated: September 16, 2011 4:25pm
McLeish: Will hope for a victory over Newcastle at Villa Park
Newcastle United will hope to continue their brilliant defensive record this season against Aston Villa.
Alan Pardew's side have kept clean sheets in three of their four games so far this campaign, and conceded just once in the other against Fulham.
That kind of performance at the back has seen the Magpies break into the top four with eight points, just two behind third-placed Chelsea.
Against the Villans at Villa Park on Saturday afternoon, Newcastle will hope to maintain their defensive valour and extend their seven-game unbeaten run.
However, Newcastle have won only one of their last seven Premier League away trips against Midlands clubs and will face a stern opponent in Villa.
Alex McLeish's side are currently eighth in the league standings with six points from four matches, just two fewer than their visitors.
Villa, like Newcastle, have yet to taste defeat in the league this campaign and have also kept clean sheets on two occasions.
The Villans have lost just one of their last 12 Premier League games but have drawn three of the last four. However, interestingly McLeish has won just one of his last 10 matches as a manager in the English top-flight, and has won none and lost three of the four matches against Newcastle United in the league.
Villa will be without injured striker Emile Heskey but manager McLeish has no other major injury problems.
Striker Darren Bent is back to full match fitness and will start alongside Gabriel Agbonlahor in attack.
Goalkeeper Shay Given will start in goal against his former club for the first time since leaving them in 2009.
Newcastle are without summer signing Davide Santon for their trip to Villa Park. The 20-year-old full-back picked up a knee injury in training and will sit out the clash.
Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini and Ryan Taylor are all set to start in a four-man defence with Tim Krul taking his place between the posts.
Possible starting XIs
Aston Villa: Given, Hutton, Dunne, Collins, Warnock, Albrighton, Petrov, Delph, N'Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Bent
Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, S. Taylor, R. Taylor, Obertan, Tiote, Cabaye, Gutierrez, Best, Ameobi
Barclays Premier League
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