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With Paul Lambert's Villa drained after two cup exits last week and Alan Pardew's side bolstered by their recent French recruits, Jamie Dickenson is backing the visitors to win

Premier League crisis clubs Aston Villa and Newcastle United meet at Villa Park, with both sides desperate for a change in their current dismal fortunes.

Villa exited both the Capital One Cup and the FA Cup last week, but will be hoping to earn three points against the Magpies with a win priced at 9/5 (2.80) by Bet365.

Paul Lambert's side actually beat Bradford City in their last home game, but it was not enough to see them progress to Wembley, while Millwall knocked out the Midlands club on Friday night, adding to Paul Lambert's woes.

Without a Premier League victory in six attempts and with an injury-hit and confidence-drained squad it would be a bold move to back the hosts in this encounter, even against a similarly struggling Newcastle team.

The visitors are the slight favourites at 17/10 (2.70) despite being just one point and one place better off than Aston Villa, with both clubs hovering dangerously above the relegation zone.

But while Villa owner Randy Lerner has backed his manager publicly with words of support, Newcastle chief Mike Ashley has put his hand in his pocket to add £10 million to Alan Pardew's January kitty that started with the considerable £7 million received from the sale of top scorer Demba Ba.

Despite having gone six games in all competitions without a win, and having their FA Cup campaign ended away at Brighton recently, the mood around Newcastle United has been lifted by the five French signings that have come into the club.

International right-back Mathieu Debuchy will make his third start against Villa, while midfielder Moussa Sissoko is set to join him in the line-up with defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and forward Yoan Gouffran also likely to be involved. Full-back Massadio Haidara will also travel with the team.

The draw at 12/5 (3.40) might seem appealing given both teams are struggling for form, but siding with the bolstered visitors in the draw no bet market appears a safer option at 5/6 (1.83).

Newcastle are yet to win on the road this season however, so they would have to produce something that has been missing from their away performances if they are to secure victory from this trip.

One man who will be crucial to the north-East club during the second half of the season is striker Papiss Cisse. The Senegal international excelled from this position last year, netting 13 goals in 14 league games after his transfer from Freiburg.

With Ba having moved to Chelsea, Cisse should be given the lone striker role and can add to his recent return of two goals in five games by breaking the deadlock and 5/1 (6.0) here.

BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
VALUE BET
Newcastle to win (draw no bet) at 5/6 (1.83) with Bet365
Papiss Cisse to score first at 5/1 (6.0) with Bet365

Jamie Dickenson is a 22-year-old freelance journalist who specialises in football, sports and betting.

More of his work can be found here
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