Newcastle v Villa stats: Why Bacuna could be key man
First things first, matches between Newcastle and Villa are generally very tight affairs.
None of the last six meetings between the sides have been separated by more than a single goal and the same can be said of nine of Paul Lambert's side's last 10 league games.
The visitors will certainly hope to profit from a poor run from their hosts, however, who have lost their last four home matches, failing to net in the process, with each scoreline increasing by one-goal increments.
The Magpies have struggled for goals since the departure of Yohan Cabaye and despite the return from suspension of top scorer Loic Remy, the former's absence could prove decisive once again.
Prior to his transfer to PSG, Newcastle won just five of the 22 league matches (22.7%) that the midfielder did not start during his time at the club, in comparison to a 47.4% win rate with the Frenchman involved.
The influential playmaker has been a real loss to Alan Pardew's side and only West Brom and Fulham have picked up fewer points in their last six league matches (4).
A current run of four matches without a goal is the joint-longest in the division this season and Newcastle have failed to score in seven of their last eight league games in total, recording just one win since Boxing Day.
Villa, meanwhile, kept their fifth clean sheet of the season away from home at Cardiff last time out, which is a tally bettered only by West Ham and Chelsea.
One man that has been key to that is Leandro Bacuna, whose form has been impressive since the turn of the year.
Only top scorer Christian Benteke has a better average rating from WhoScored.com than the Dutchman's 7.21, and the 22-year old's link up with Marc Albrighton caused problems for Cardiff last time out.
Lambert may look to focus his side's attacking intent down the right flank once again at Newcastle, looking to cause problems for Davide Santon.
In comparison, the Italian's form and average rating has dropped to 6.71 in 2014, having been up at an impressive 7.21 prior to the New Year.
WhoScored.com's statistically calculated match forecast suggests that Villa will score from a counter attack, with only Tottenham having more attempts on the break away from home this season (7).
Bacuna's pace and athleticism could be a real asset, then, as Villa look for a quick transition from defence to attack and with Benteke - who has netted in his last two appearances against Newcastle - to aim for, the away side will hope to return to Villa Park with a positive result on Sunday.
Find yet more statistics on Aston Villa and the rest of the Premier League, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings at WhoScored.com. Follow @WhoScored and their editor-in-chief @martinlaurence7 on Twitter.
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