Two sides hoping to get their first win of the season meet on Saturday, as Aston Villa take on Newcastle
Aston Villa return to a full capacity Villa Park for the first time in almost 18 months on Saturday afternoon, and will be hoping their support can inspire them to their first win of the season, having succumbed to newly-promoted Watford on the opening weekend.
Their opponents also suffered defeat last time out, as former Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce couldn’t steer Newcastle United to victory over West Ham at St James’ Park, despite leading 2-1 at half-time. Both sides will be hoping to perform better defensively this weekend, having conceding seven goals between them.
After recording a fine assist 10 minutes into his first Villa appearance, Leon Bailey could be in line for a first start since his move from Bayer Leverkusen. Fellow new signings Emiliano Buendia and Danny Ings are also set to continue in the starting XI, with Ashley Young and Matt Targett competing for the left-back position.
The only definite absentees for Dean Smith to contend with are Morgan Sanson and Trezeguet, who are both recovering from serious knee injuries, but there’s better news in the form of Ollie Watkins and Douglas Luiz. The Brazilian is back with the club after winning Olympic gold with Brazil last month and could be involved despite a lack of rest, while Watkins should be involved after a minor knee injury kept him out of the defeat to Watford.
As for Newcastle, they will finally be allowed to welcome Joe Willock to the club on a permanent basis. The former Arsenal man was announced to the St James’ Park crowd before the West Ham game last week, but wasn’t registered in time to play. After a week of training, the 21-year-old will be hoping he continue his run of nine goals in consecutive games, a feat which convinced Newcastle to part with £25m for his services.
Freddie Woodman is set to continue in goal for the Magpies, as Karl Darlow and Martin Dubravka remain sidelined. Jamaal Lascelles may be involved again though, having sat out the defeat to West Ham as a precaution, but Paul Dummett is still out with a calf problem.
Sean Longstaff’s involvement will be of interest, with Everton reportedly keen on signing him as he moves into the last year of his contract. The born-and-bred Geordie is supposedly available for just £10m, £40m less than the price Manchester United were quoted for his services just two years ago, when Rafa Benitez was Newcastle manager. He played six minutes from the bench last weekend, and could find himself further down the pecking order now Willock has arrived.
Aston Villa take on Newcastle United at Villa Park on Saturday, August 21st. Kick-off is at 3pm.