Newcastle United vs Aston VillaEnglish Premier League, KO: 17:30 Aug 12, 2023, St James' Park
NEWCASTLE UNITED and Aston Villa both enjoyed excellent campaigns last season and both have been strongly tipped to continue the progress made last term.
And they meet on Saturday night in what should be a cracker of an opening Premier League fixture.
Newcastle won plenty of praise and respect last season for not dumping their newly-found Saudi riches on the usual global superstar XI, but slowly increasing the quality of Eddie Howe's squad.
They've again resisted the temptation to go mad in the summer transfer market and have only brought in three players – Harvey Barnes from Leicester City for £39 million, Sandro Tonali from AC Milan for £55 million and Yankuba Minteh for £6 million from Odense.
Last season's top four finish has only heightened expectations in the Toon Army and Howe will be expected to get them closer to Manchester City and Arsenal this season.
Villa's boss Unai Emery quickly repaired the damage done under Steven Gerrard and guided the Birmingham side to an impressive seventh spot and a European place.
Pau Torres has been brought in from Villarreal for £33 million along with Youri Tielemans and Moussa Diaby.
Emery has already stated he sees seventh place as a minimum for them this season and they start with a huge test in Tyneside.
How the bookies view it
Newcastle United are odds-on favourites across the board and can be backed at 8/11 with Coral.
Recent head to heads
The sides actually played out an entertaining 3-3 draw in a pre-season draw in Philadelphia.
Last season, home advantage counted. Newcastle won 4-0 and Villa won 3-0.
It's worth pointing out Villa have a horrific record at St James'Park – they haven't won on their last 15 visits since 2005.
Players to watch
England international Callum Wilson is always a threat and scored an impressive 18 league goals in 21 starts last season. He is 7/5 to score anytime with Paddy Power.
French international winger Moussa Diaby scored nine goals for Bayer Leverkusen last season and is 4/1 to score anytime with bet365.
Anything else catch the eye?
Aston Villa seem to have a hex put on them for their trips to the north east and may suffer more misery on Saturday.
Although the sides fought out that six-goal thriller in the USA in pre-season, that can be discounted and Villa are usually solid under Emery.
Therefore it could pay to back a home win and under 2.5 goals at an enticing 7/2 with bet365.
Scotland star John McGinn will be fired up for this and collected three bookings in his last five games of the season for club and country. He looks a fair shout to be carded again at 21/10 with Paddy Power.
This English Premier League match between Newcastle United and Aston Villa will be played on Aug 12, 2023 and kick off at 17:30. Check below for our tipsters best Newcastle United vs Aston Villa prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.