Aston Villa-Newcastle United Preview
(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - Newcastle United will be looking to pick up a second consecutive home win of the season when they welcome Aston Villa to the Sports Direct Arena on Sunday afternoon.
The Magpies beat Tottenham 2-1 on the opening weekend, and despite losing 2-0 at Chelsea a week ago will be full of confidence ahead of the meeting with Villa. Having kept hold of most of his key players, Alan Pardew has admitted that while a title challenge may be out of reach for his side, a trophy should be the target.
"Anybody who knows me and knows my management will tell you I am desperate to win something, and I think I have got a team that potentially can do that," said Pardew. "Will we win the Premier League? Well, that's probably beyond us - the size of squads of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea at the weekend, it's going to make it very, very difficult for us to bridge that gap unless we get into the Champions League. I still think that's probably our best route to grow as a football club.
"Having said that, a cup win would certainly raise our fans' morale and the club's morale, and that's something I'm focusing on as much as that Champions League position."
Aston Villa have yet to pick up a point this season, struggling to bed in a group of young players to the starting XI. Manager Paul Lambert is confident that his side will improve, but is frustrated by the attitude of some youngsters in the game.
"Some young players, not all, think if they play two or three Premier League games, they've arrived," said Lambert. "If somebody plays 600 or 500 games, yes, then I might think you have. That's why I've got great admiration for people like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs because every year they produce and produce and produce, whether they are getting £8 a week or £80,000 a week.
"I don't like young players coming in and thinking they've arrived, I certainly don't and it's up to me not to stand for that. If you're driving a Skoda one day and the next day you're driving a Mercedes, that indicates to me there's something really wrong there. If we can get that hunger in them and they keep it fine.
"People can be motivated by different things, whether it's money or success. But then you can get the other side of the coin where people have got too much money and they don't want to do it. I think that's the balance of trying to get a good team."
Newcastle have doubts over Ryan Taylor (knee), Chiek Tiote (calf) and the Ameobi brothers (both hamstring). Aston Villa are without the injured Gary Gardner (knee), Richard Dunne (groin), Marc Albrighton (foot) and Gabriel Agbonlahor (knee). Stiliyan Petrov continues his recovery from leukaemia.
Whichever side has been at home has not lost in the last ten meetings between these two, with just two draws in that run. Aston Villa have lost four of their last five games at Newcastle, while the Magpies have been beaten just once in their last 11 home matches. Aston Villa have gone 12 Premier League games without a win and have recorded just one top-flight victory since February.
Updated August 31, 2012