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Opinion

Predicted Newcastle team v Aston Villa – Two changes

4 weeks ago
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Only two days now until we find out the Newcastle team v Aston Villa.

A 3pm kick-off on Saturday at a sold out Villa Park, as Newcastle United try to bounce back from that reality check on Sunday.

Wilson and ASM giving United hope but in the final analysis, a bit of an opening day shambles as Newcastle shipped in four goals at home and offered no threat in the second half with not a single effort on target.

The question is, what changes, if any, will Steve Bruce make to his Newcastle team v Aston Villa?

It looks like the choice will be from 21 players, Joe Willock and these 20 who were in Sunday’s matchday squad.

Newcastle team v West Ham – 15 August 2021:

Woodman, Murphy, Krafth, Fernandez, Clark, Ritchie, Shelvey, Hayden, Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Wilson

Subs: Gillespie, Gayle, Schar, Sean Longstaff, Fraser, Lascelles, Lewis, Hendrick, Joelinton

Interesting to look back only seven months and the Newcastle team v Aston Villa at Villa Park on 23 January 2021. Steve Bruce was on a run of nine games that had featured seven defeats and two draws and he picked this team and subs.

Newcastle team v Aston Villa – 23 January 2021:

Darlow, Schar, Lascelles, Hayden, Manquillo, Hendrick, Shelvey, Almiron, Lewis, Wilson, Carroll

Subs: Dubravka, M Longstaff, Joelinton, Ritchie, Krafth, Murphy, Fraser, Gayle, Saint-Maximin

A feeble display followed, Villa winning 2-0 although it could have been a lot worse, the negative Steve Bruce tactics seeing only one effort on target in the entire match from Newcastle United.

Only four of that team who faced Villa in January, also lined up against West Ham last Sunday, the four being Hayden, Shelvey, Almiron and Wilson.

This is my predicted Newcastle team v Aston Villa for Saturday:

Freddie Woodman

Looks like Dubravka and Darlow injured still missing and Freddie Woodman was decent in the 90 minutes against West Ham, keeping the score down with some good saves and let down by his team when saving the penalty and no great attempt at preventing Soucek scoring the rebound.

Federico Fernandez, Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schar

A bit of a revamp here I think.

Krafth and Clark were poor, Fernandez getting little help in holding it together.

Lascelles wasn’t quite fully fit according to Steve Bruce on Sunday, so he will surely start this time, with Schar as well I think (hope!).

Jacob Murphy and Matt Ritchie

Jacob Murphy will continue as right wing back, barring injury. Murphy doing ok against West Ham and scoring a rare headed goal.

Ritchie was poor in defence but did pretty well going forward, including the cross for Murphy to score.

Will just about keep his place but if not improving at the back, surely Bruce’s £15m signing will have to be given a chance.

Isaac Hayden and Jonjo Shelvey

It remains to be seen what Steve Bruce will do with Joe Willock, how he intends to fit him into the team. Whether at the expense of one of two holding midfielders, or one of the more attacking options.

Despite both having poor games against West Ham, especially Shelvey, I think both of these will stay in on Saturday.

After that, who knows?

Callum Wilson

He’ll play.

Scored with his one decent chance, almost got a second with a backheel, one goal against West Ham and hopefully a season where he can stay fit and score for fun.

Allan Saint-Maximin

Like Wilson, an easy selection.

A great first half on Sunday but faded away in second. No surprise with him having only 45 minutes in the final four friendlies.

Hopefully will be fully fit this time and influence the whole game. Newcastle will need it.

Miguel Almiron

Did alright against West Ham, especially considering only 45 minutes in friendlies and only started training with the team a week and a half before last Sunday.

Like ASM, should be fully fit this time.

As for Joe Willock, I think he will definitely get on the pitch but from the bench. Hopefully it will be a more relaxed introduction, rather than in desperation needing to save the game…

So this leaves my predicted Newcastle team v Aston Villa for our first away match of the season as:

Woodman, Murphy, Fernandez, Lascelles, Schar, Ritchie, Hayden, Shelvey, Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Wilson

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