Aston Villa hitman Christian Benteke has tripled the Premier League output of Newcastle United and the Magpies will try to slow down his exploits in Saturday's clash at Villa Park.
Benteke has scored seven goals in his last six Premier League matches, and his three this campaign have him atop the scoring charts along with Arsenal's Olivier Giroud and Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge.
Alan Pardew's Newcastle United, meanwhile, have found the back of the net just once for the league's joint second-worst attack, although the Magpies have four points to the Villans' three.
Villa are more than pleased with that haul will have enjoyed a lengthy break, with Paul Lambert's side returning to league play for the first time since a 1-0 home defeat to Liverpool on Aug. 24. Their fixture the next week against Chelsea was played mid-week prior to the Reds' clash, since the Europa League champions were taking part in the UEFA Supercup.
Lambert is ecstatic with three points from an opening stretch of fixtures against Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.
"If somebody had said we'd have took three points out of the three games, I'd have took it right at the beginning," Lambert said. "The progress has been really, really good for us."
The Villa boss will have Benteke available for the time being although there are rumours that the Belgian international could move to Manchester United in the January transfer window.
Pardew was concerned about losing Yohan Cabaye in the last transfer period, but the Frenchman will remain on Tyneside. Cabaye, training to make his first start this weekend, entered in the 65th minute in a 1-0 victory over Fulham on Aug. 31 after being out with an ankle injury.
Cabaye scored the winner in a 2-1 victory at Villa Park last season and he and Loic Remy have been tipped by Pardew to make an impact this weekend.
Newcastle went 266 minutes without scoring in the league until Hatem Ben Arfa's 86th-minute goal against the Cottagers.
"You can't predict when you are going to score but what you can predict is your performance," Pardew said. "The second half, we were terrific. We should have scored before we scored."
Pardew felt the Magpies have played well after halftime throughout this year, and Newcastle should be aware of an Aston Villa side that lead the Premier League with 12 yellow cards this season - eight in the second half.
Newcastle try for their third clean sheet after they had five all of last year. They have two wins and two draws in their last four versus Villa.
With Benteke failing to score for Belgium, the most notable moment for a Villan during the international break may have been Gabriel Agbonlahor's tackle on pop star Louis Tomlinson of One Direction in a charity match that forced the singer to leave the Celtic Park pitch to vomit. Agbonlahor, who received abuse from Tomlinson's fans on Twitter, plans to apologise.
- Sports & Recreation
- Newcastle United
- Premier League
- Alan Pardew
- Paul Lambert
- Yohan Cabaye