Newcastle v Aston Villa
Live on Sky Sports 1
The rumour that World Wrestling Entertainment owner Vince McMahon reportedly showed an interest in buying Newcastle United certainly was one of my personal highlights of the week. During my barrels of laughter, I suddenly realised that this was the most smiley situation to have surfaced around Newcastle United for a while.
It's all been rather dull and dreary up on Tyneside since the turn of the year.
Disgruntled Toon fans must have been throwing things at their television on Tuesday when Yohan Cabaye scored for PSG in the Champions League. His departure has triggered a worrying downturn in results for Newcastle.
Since trudging off the field after their 3-1 win at West Ham - his last game for the club - the north-east side have taken just one point from the last four matches and have failed to score in all of those fixtures.
Their embarrassing 3-0 home defeat to Sunderland was followed up with similar heartless showings against Chelsea and Tottenham, conceding seven goals in those two encounters. However, even before Cabaye's departure, Newcastle had been showing signs of goalscoring problems.
In total, the Toon have failed to score in seven of their last eight games in the Premier League but Loic Remyis available for selection again to help in that department. He was banned for three matches after getting sent-off in the 0-0 draw at Norwich and he'll be hoping to return with a bang, especially with Arsene Wenger potentially plotting a bid for the 11-goal striker in the summer.
The last time Aston Villa won at St James Park, the Magpies had three players sent off, including that infamous ruck between Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer in April 2005.
In preparation for their trip to their rather unlucky venue, Villa manager Paul Lambert took his side to a training camp in Portugal for some warm weather training. While Bodymoor Heath was battered by wind and rain, the first team sweated during intense workouts in the sun, or so Lambert said.
I'm sure we'll find out whether it all was mud, sweat and tears or mud, sweat and beers come Sunday lunchtime!
In fairness to the Villa players, they've probably deserved a trip away after a run of form which has seen them rise away from the relegation zone. It hasn't been overly impressive but eight points picked up since the turn of 2014 is a far better return than some of their relegation rivals.
It's worth noting that Villa are a much more confident outfit on the road, winning four games, including that opening day win over Arsenal and more recently recording a draw at Liverpool.
You'd be a brave man to take any price on Newcastle, which is flirting around even money. The atmosphere around the club at the moment has the potential to turn ugly what with the ridiculous transfer policy overseen by Joe Kinnear, who was sacked earlier this month.
Alan Pardew's men must be aware of the negativity within the stands and if the hosts don't start with a bang, it's very likely that the crowd will turn.
Villa are a very backable price at [4.0], no doubt. Lambert's side are very well suited to playing away from home with plenty of pace in wide areas along with possessing perhaps the best hold-up striker in the Premier League in the form of Christian Benteke.
Instead of putting faith in a Villa win, I'm more entitled to side with the chances of Benteke opening the scoring considering the way he's been playing of late. After months of sloppiness and wayward finishing, the big Belgian is firing again and looks more like the human battering-ram we all saw on a weekly basis last season.
Benteke has scored in each of his two Premier League games against Newcastle and the [6.6] about him making it three-from-three by scoring first is well worth having a stab at.
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