Newcastle United will head to Villa Park for their Premier League clash against Aston Villa this evening and Eddie Howe will be hoping that his side can start to turn the season around.
The Magpies will be desperate to get back on track after falling behind in the Premier League table this season and aiming for a European qualification spot whether that be Conference or Europa League seems like the most realistic prospect at present.
Newcastle have lost four of their last five league fixtures consecutively, meaning they haven’t found a win in 2024 yet and are currently 10th in the top-flight table, so a run of form is long overdue and could begin tonight in a challenging clash with Unai Emery’s formidable Villa side.
The Villains have had a mixed bag of results in their last five fixtures, with only one defeat, two wins and two draws tallied up, so there is an opportunity to perhaps capitalise on the hosting club’s inconsistent form for Newcastle but it will require Howe to pull off a masterclass to trump Emery’s excellent home record.
In terms of injuries, the club is still plagued with key players ruled out of action as Joelinton, Nick Pope, Elliot Anderson, Joe Willock and Matt Targett remain unavailable for selection indefinitely, as per Premier League Injuries.
Harvey Barnes, Callum Wilson and Jamaal Lascelles are close to a return, however, the Villa game may just come too soon for the trio who are on the brink of recovery, whilst Miguel Almiron is expected to be back for the clash but will be subjected to a late fitness test following his absence through illness.
Kieran Trippier has also been a concern for Howe as he had to be taken off the pitch in the FA Cup win against Fulham at the weekend, however, the Newcastle boss revealed that he is hopeful that the full-back will return:
“We hope he’s okay. He’s had a groin problem grumbling away for a while. Here (in the Fulham game), he just said he was a bit fatigued towards the end and was feeling his groin.”
“Fingers crossed, it’s nothing serious. It’s no new injury.”
How could Newcastle line up vs Aston Villa?
We predict that Howe will make just one change to the starting eleven he led out at Craven Cottage at the weekend, maintaining a 4-3-3 formation.
Despite suffering a niggle in his groin, we expect to see Trippier retain his spot on the right flank of the defensive set-up alongside Martin Dubravka, Fabian Schar, Sven Botman and Dan Burn who all also keep their places.
In midfield, again, we predict that Howe will keep things consistent due to the fact Joelinton, Joe Willock and Elliot Anderson remain unavailable for selection, so Bruno Guimaraes, Sean Longstaff and teenage sensation Lewis Miley will complete the trio in the centre of the pitch.
The first and only change we do expect to see is Miguel Almiron returning to the starting line-up after missing out on the FA Cup action due to illness, he is likely to replace returnee Jacob Murphy on the right wing, whilst Anthony Gordon and Swedish star Alexander Isak will be relied upon to deliver the goods needed to beat Villa tonight.