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Opinion

Preferred Newcastle team v Aston Villa with three changes

3 weeks ago
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Looking ahead to Saturday afternoon and the Newcastle team v Aston Villa.

As we all watched it unfold against West Ham, the opening weekend didn’t exactly go our way.

It was more of the same in my opinion, some good attacking moments and promising portions of play, but combined with defensive fragilities. Along with passages of play where we seemed to have given up, plus of course a few officiating howlers thrown in for good measure.

With that in mind, here’s my choice of Newcastle team v Aston Villa team for this afternoon’s game.

Goalkeeper – Woodman

Not really much of a choice here.

With Darlow still on the road to recovery from covid and Dubravka out until at least after the international break, Woodman gets the nod here.

All things considered he did relatively well on his Premier League debut against West Ham, making several good stops and of course saving a penalty, and in my opinion was mainly let down by some shambolic defending for the goals conceded.

Centre backs – Fernandez, Lascelles, Schar

Obviously the position that was most critiqued from last weekend.

Seeing the training photos, it looks like Lascelles is pushing to start, and he should certainly replace Krafth. Who as I’m sure everyone who reads this knows, is not exactly a starting quality Premier League centre back.

As Dummett is still out injured, it’s then between Clark and Schar, and I’d personally go with Schar due to his passing range and Clark not exactly covering himself in glory last time out.

Wing backs – Murphy and Ritchie

Clearly the best choices here.

There isn’t really another option over Murphy with Manquillo getting very limited pre-season minutes, and for me, Ritchie still starts over Lewis due to his attacking ability and crosses into the box, just about making up for his defensive frailties.

I could still see Lewis starting here though, which I wouldn’t be disappointed with.

Midfield – Hayden, Willock, Almiron

Obviously, Willock should start here.

Even just having last season’s talisman back in the squad should provide a major lift to both the team and the fans.

Replacing Shelvey, this will allow Hayden to focus on his defensive work and hopefully add some more screening to the defence, rather than trying to rely on Shelvey and his shall we say, inconsistent, work rate.

Almiron I think played quite well last time out, showing a lot more composure than we’ve come to expect, and I think with Willock the midfield should look a lot stronger than last week.

Attack – Wilson and ASM

Undisputed first choice pairing here.

They combined within five minutes last time out and hopefully this is a combination that we can benefit from going forward.

ASM’s skills made the game great to watch, certainly first half, and Wilson is always a threat in the box.

Joelinton and Gayle will provide fresh legs from the bench and doesn’t that make you pray for an injury free season from our two top players….

As far as a prediction goes – I’m going to stay positive and go for a 2-1 win against Aston Villa this time out. We’ll see how that optimism plays out this afternoon.

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