Aston Villa (H) Pre-match thoughts, team news, possible line-ups & score prediction

After settling for a frankly pathetic point at West Brom last weekend, I sincerely hope Steve Bruce has significantly more up his sleeve this time around.

A Tyneside-bound Aston Villa may be travelling north without star man Jack Grealish, but they boast the third best defence in the Premier League – meaning we’ll have to pose MUCH more of a threat if we wish to do what we couldn’t at The Hawthorns.

Bruce came away from our last match “really, really pleased” with a draw; an embarrassing comment in itself but one that was made to look even more stupid when Fulham went and beat Liverpool a few hours later to reduce the gap to one point.

Picking up wins without Wilson, Saint-Maximin and Almiron won’t be easy, but with Fulham and Brighton looking capable and our run of four winnable games (Wolves, WBA, Villa and Brighton) now at its half way mark, that sinking feeling we all felt last weekend will only be eased if we turn draws into wins.

Team news

  • Wilson, Saint-Maximin & Almiron – All ruled out but tipped to be ‘there or thereabouts’ after the international break.
  • Javier Manquillo – Bruce has confirmed that he’s returned a few weeks earlier than expected. Back in training and was named on the bench last weekend, so let’s hope he’s fit to start this one.
  • Federico Fernandez – Fit to return after two months out, but likely to be on the bench again after Lascelles and Clark helped us to a clean sheet at West Brom.
  • Fabian Schar – Remains out with a knee injury after going under the knife last month.

Predicted lineup

(4-3-3): Dubravka – Manquillo, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett – Willock, Hayden, Shelvey – Joelinton, Gayle, Fraser.

Manquillo IN, Krafth OUT? – I think we’ve all established that when both are fit, the Spaniard starts over the Swede. The latter isn’t as solid defensively – struggling far more with 1 vs 1’s – doesn’t look comfortable on the ball and can be poor positionally. If Manquillo is fit to start, it should be a no-brainer for Bruce.

Gayle IN, Hendrick OUT? – The Irishman offered nothing last weekend and was hooked off just 10 minutes into the second half. Bruce has talked up the idea of Joe Willock dropping back into a midfield three for this one, so I could see him playing slightly deeper – a move that would allow Gayle to play in the middle of Fraser and Joelinton in more of a 4-3-3. I thought Gayle would play at West Brom and he didn’t, making this a dubious one to back, but our lack of a striker at West Brom combined with Carroll’s lack of anything these days should see our forgotten forward return to the starting line up.

Elsewhere, Dummett should keep his place after being one of few to play well against the Baggies. Some are calling for Shelvey and Joelinton to come out of the side, but both played OK last weekend and seem unlikely to be dropped by Bruce. Potential alternatives to both are Matty Longstaff and Jacob Murphy, but the former is rarely in the squad these days and the latter wasn’t even brought on from the bench at The Hawthorn’s – although he could be a useful impact sub in this one!

There’s been inevitable calls for Carroll to come in, but his last start was in that 2-0 defeat at Aston Villa; a game that saw him offer absolutely nothing if memory serves me correct. I want him to do well, but he’s sadly offered nothing to suggest he’s still good enough to cut it at Premier League level.

Match prediction

It’s been a while since I predicted a Newcastle win and that theme will continue here, unfortunately.

Jack Grealish will be a big miss for Villa – a team that have looked pretty toothless in his absence – but they don’t concede many and still have plenty capable players in Watkins, Traore, Barkley and McGinn to name a few.

The big worry for me is the fact this once promising 4-3-1-2 formation was built to suit Wilson, ASM and Almiron and has to be altered now all three are missing. Do I trust Steve Bruce to make the right changes? Absolutely not. After all, this is a manager who’d been trying and failing all season to find a system that suited us until Graeme Jones arrived!

There’s a glimmer of hope based on Villa’s recent struggles without their star man, but we’ll have to be MILES better than were were at West Brom to beat these – and I struggle to believe we will be.

I’m torn between a tight draw and narrow defeat, so will go with the former based on what’s at stake.

Prediction: Newcastle 1-1 Aston Villa

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan, he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC!

51 thoughts on “Aston Villa (H) Pre-match thoughts, team news, possible line-ups & score prediction

  1. I expect exactly the same approach as WBA – play for the draw.

    Same back 4. Midfield of Hayden, Hendrick & Willock and the same 3 up front as WBA.

    I don’t expect the same outcome though – I only see a Villa win.


  2. I think you have the team spot on Olly. I would take Joe-Donkey to the knacker’s yard but Bruce will play him.

    I am sort of 49/51 Carroll and Gayle but think it will be Gayle.


  3. If we play Gayle and Fraser up front I am going 3-1 to NUFC. That may sound crazy, but WTF.


  4. I mean. We are only playing with a 10 man team. No Krafth and Hendick will help us.

    Maybe a 9 and a half if Shelvey is at his worst.


  5. There’s always a doubt about Shelvey one way or another.
    I’m predicting a 1-0 win. HTL!
    Still don’t understand anyone picking Joe as a starter. He’s bloody useless. I’s rather see Atsu there.


  6. Bruce is a fraud. He talks shyte and expects you to believe it. He couldn’t run a bingo game in Blackpool never mind NUFC. But that is what he reminds of – a bingo caller at Seaton Burn Social Club which is where I grew up and they played ‘Housey” on Tuesday night and I worked the bar when I was much younger.


  7. georgio: I think Olly is picking the team he thinks the Fat Oaf Bruce will pick and not the team Olly would pick! Right, Olly? You gave him a 9 once in your ratings so I dont know for certain 🙂 He never got over a 2 for me.


  8. Of course I was talking about Donkey-Joe. He is really, really bad. The ball bounces off him, he scuffs every shot and he misses free headers when he is even the box to start with. What is it now? 3 goals in 59 games? Stats sometimes lie. Not in this case.


  9. We are so shyte that they are not even showing it on the regular TV channel that plays 4 full games on a Saturday. It is on another link so I can still watch. I think they wont get viewers so decided we were not worth it.

    That West Brom may have caused US TV to give up on NUFC.


  10. We are the worst watch by far. It is like watching West Brom against Crystal Palace most weeks.


  11. can you believe that Big Fat Sam and Mr Roy were England managers? And McClaren? And Southgate FFS? Relegated Boro.


  12. Don’t know why and it’s completely and utterly unwarranted but I fancy is to win tonight. Villa are without Grealish and have not much to play for.


  13. Although I notice Bruce is still peddling the nonsense that 6/7 teams are still in the relegation mix. The guy is on drugs


  14. It just doesnt make any sense to play our striker on the wing (Gayle) and our best crosser down the middle (Fraser).


  15. Eric Sykes:
    It just doesnt make any sense to play our striker on the wing (Gayle) and our best crosserdown the middle (Fraser).

    Square pegs round holes


  16. Fu.cking dreadful. Shelvey and Joelinton seem to be playing for villa. Shelvey can only pass back or to a villa player. We are playing with 9 men. Shocking.


  17. Joelinton, the amazing rubber man. Should join the fantastic four, not Newcastle United


  18. We haven’t looked like scoring. We’ve been worse than bang average and that’s what happens. Can anybody give me one reason why we will stay up?


  19. We go a goal down and he brings on Carroll. Did we not need a goal before going a goal down?

    It’s blindingly obvious Bruce doesn’t think we’re in trouble – he thought a point was good enough.


  20. Played for a fu.cking point. Murphy one of our best crossers and get 10 mins. Carroll gets 3 mins. Playing for a draw. **** cabbage head head Bruce has to go.


  21. Unbelievably bad. Played with 9 men most of the game. Shelvey and Joe were shocking. Bruce no subs till last 10 mins … we deserve to go down. This is not a Premiership side.


  22. How do you describe that game?

    2 **** teams. Villa without Grealish and us without our 3 best players!

    We might stay up if we can get our best players back.


  23. The Donkey and Shelvey should not play ever again.

    Somehow Joe-Donkey contrives to miss the pass even when he amazingly (for him) gets into a good position. And Bruce leaves him on. I think that is 3 goals in 59 PL games (it might be 60, I will have to check).


  24. What do Shelvey, Krafth and the Donkey have to do to get dropped.

    I have been against bringing in Anderson because of the pressure he would be under but a lamp shade would be better than Donkey-Linton.


  25. You could put a plastic filigree lamp post in the centre of the pitch and it would be more effective that Shelvey and Joelinton put together.


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