Newcastle at Villa Park - then and now
Published 05/05/2016 | 11:06
Newcastle return to the scene of their biggest disappointment in recent years when they head for relegated Aston Villa on Saturday.
On May 24, 2009, the Magpies slipped out of the Barclays Premier League after a 1-0 defeat at Villa Park and seven years on, their need is almost as pressing.
Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at an equally crucial reunion.
2009 - THE TEAMS
Villa: Friedel, Gardner (Heskey), Davies, Cuellar, Shorey, Milner, Petrov (Reo-Coker), Barry, Young, Carew (Sidwell), Agbonlahor.
Unused substitutes: Guzan, Knight, Albrighton, Delfouneso.
Newcastle: Harper, Coloccini, S Taylor, Edgar, Duff, Guthrie, Nolan (Owen), Butt, Lovenkrands (Enrique), Viduka (Shola Ameobi), Martins.
Unused substitutes: Krul, R Taylor, Gutierrez, Smith.
Gabriel Agbonlahor is the only member of the Villa squad which took to the field that day still on the books, although he did not play at Watford last weekend after resigning as club captain following he emergence of photographs of him apparently partying in the wake of relegation. Keeper Brad Guzan, who was on the bench seven years ago, also missed out at Vicarage Road, but has been Villa's number one this season.
Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor remain part of the Newcastle squad, but Coloccini is injured and Taylor has not played since April 9. Keeper Tim Krul, an unused substitute in 2009, is out for the season with cruciate ligament damage.
Villa are rock-bottom of the table in 20th place with just 16 points from their 36 games to date, 15 adrift of closest rivals Norwich. Newcastle edged their way out of the drop zone with victory over Crystal Palace last weekend, but are only a point better off than Sunderland and two ahead of the Canaries, both of whom have a game in hand.
Villa, whose relegation was confirmed by a 1-0 defeat at Manchester United on April 16, have lost their last 11 league games. Newcastle have enjoyed something of a resurgence in recent weeks with two wins and two draws from their last four.
A positive result for Villa might provide a scintilla of consolation, but anything short of victory for the Magpies could prove insufficient to keep alive their hopes of avoiding the drop.
Newcastle fans have never forgotten the mirth with which some Villa supporters responded to their club's demise in 2009, but given the Magpies' parlous situation once again, the visiting contingent will have bigger fish to fry. Talk of planned protests by the Villa faithful suggests contrasting emotions will be at play with the Toon Army travelling in hope of a great escape.