How Villa could line up vs Newcastle Utd: Danks eyes back-to-back wins before Emery arrival

Aston Villa face a difficult trip to Tyneside this weekend to take on Newcastle Utd as Aaron Danks looks for back-to-back wins as interim boss.

With Unai Emery set to begin work next Tuesday, this will be Danks’ last game in charge and he’ll no doubt be eager to follow up our brilliant performance against Brentford with another three points.

READ MORE: Balague provides fascinating insight on what Villa can expect from Emery

It won’t be easy against Eddie Howe’s side though given the quality in their group and the good run of form that they’re on which has lifted them to fourth in the Premier League table, but confidence should be high after our much-needed win last weekend and hopefully we can build on that.

He’ll have at least one key decision to make on Saturday though in terms of his Villa starting XI, with L’Equipe reporting this week that Lucas Digne is expected back in the squad after recovering from his ankle injury.

However, given his lengthy spell on the sidelines and lack of match fitness, it seems highly unlikely that the Frenchman will come straight back into the line-up, and so Ashley Young – who has done a stellar job filling in for him – should keep his place in what would be the sensible choice.

Danks will surely go with same Villa XI that impressed last week

Such was the impressive nature of that performance against Brentford, there is a strong argument in favour of going with the exact same Villa XI, barring any injury concerns that have cropped up during the week.

Emiliano Martinez will continue between the posts, with Matty Cash, Ezri Konsa, Tyrone Mings and Young forming the backline ahead of him.

Douglas Luiz and Leander Dendoncker struck up an influential partnership in the midfield pivot last time out and given how well their strengths and characteristics complement each other, it would make sense to stick with them despite the likes of John McGinn, Morgan Sanson and Marvelous Nakamba being available on the bench.

The same could be said of our front four as Leon Bailey, Ollie Watkins, Emiliano Buendia and Danny Ings were excellent last Sunday, combining brilliantly in attack while showing a great work ethic to put in a vital defensive shift too with their aggressive pressing in the opposition half.

Danks will have undoubtedly been encouraged by the energy, intensity and urgency shown by his players in our win, and provided that he can rely on them to produce a similar level of performance again this weekend, it would be a surprise if he did make any alterations.

That said, he will analyse the opposition and try to identify areas in which we can get the better of Newcastle, and so the likes of Jacob Ramsey and Philippe Coutinho will also be hopeful of coming back into the side.

However, the XI below – the same XI that beat Brentford so comprehensively – surely deserves the opportunity to back that performance up and continue to impress the incoming Villa boss. Danks showed great tactical know-how and in-game management last week, and we can hopefully expect more of the same as we try to get a big win that will continue to move us up the standings.

Predicted Aston Villa XI vs Newcastle Utd: Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Young; Dendoncker, Douglas Luiz; Watkins, Buendia, Bailey; Ings.