Aston Villa host Newcastle Utd on Saturday afternoon as Dean Smith and the squad look to bounce back after our opening-day defeat at Watford.
Villa were poor at Vicarage Road, particularly in the first half, with Smith noting in his post-match reaction that he was far from impressed with the lack of intensity and urgency from his side before the break.
In turn, he’ll want a positive response from his side in our first home game of the Premier League season, especially given it’s a sold out Villa Park with the fans returning in their numbers and expecting a big performance and three points.
Unfortunately though, it’s a tricky time for the Villa boss given the ongoing injury and fitness troubles that he’s facing, with a string of important figures still doubts to feature.
As per Smith in his press conference on Friday, Ollie Watkins and Bertrand Traore are out due to injury, while it’s unlikely that Leon Bailey will be in the starting XI given his lack of match fitness.
The same is likely with Douglas Luiz who only returned to Bodymoor Heath this week after his international commitments with Brazil over the summer, and so it could be a similar line-up for Villa in comparison to that seen against Watford.
Villa vs Newcastle Utd statistics
- Aston Villa are unbeaten in their last six Premier League matches against Newcastle United (W2 D4) since losing 1-0 back in February 2015.
- Newcastle haven’t scored a single goal in any of their last four Premier League visits to Aston Villa (D2 L2).
- Aston Villa have scored exactly twice in each of their last four Premier League games.
- Newcastle have won just two of their last 18 Premier League games in August (D6 L10).
- Callum Wilson has scored three goals in his last two Premier League games for Newcastle. However, Wilson hasn’t faced an opponent more times without scoring in the Premier League than Aston Villa (5 games).
Smith confirmed on Friday that he doesn’t expect Watkins to be fit, while Traore is also set for a spell on the sidelines after picking up a hamstring injury.
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce revealed he’s likely to be without Jonjo Shelvey and Jamaal Lascelles, while new signing Joe Willock will be in their squad.
Further, the visitors will go with Freddie Woodman in goal again with Martin Dubravka and Karl Darlow both still sidelined.
Villa XI vs Newcastle Utd: Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; McGinn, Nakamba, J. Ramsey; Buendia, A. Young; Ings.