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Villama Preview: Villa vs. Newcastle

Off the heels of a disappointing 3-2 loss to Watford, Aston Villa host Newcastle in what they hope to be the opening win of the season. The Toons come in off a 4-2 loss to West Ham, with the bottom falling out in the second half (there or thereabouts). 

In last week’s 3-2 defeat at Watford, more than a few things looked wrong with Aston Villa. Matt Target looked off, Marvelous Nakamba was out of position at times, and Emiliano Buendía seemed to sputter. It was an inauspicious start to the season for the Claret and Blue. A switch to a 4-3-3 formation could alleviate some of the issues, providing a more stable midfield with the return of Douglas Luiz. Of course, this would also have the knock-on effect of having to chose between Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings, unless you’d like to play Watkins on the left wing (I would not) or play a 4-4-2 with Ings as a link.

Whatever formation is played, the midfield needs improvement. I’m skittish given last week, but a John McGinn and Luiz paring with Buendía on the right, Leon Bailey on the left, and Watkins and Ings up top is as likely a setup as any. The back four should remain the same, though it’s not unreasonable to think Ashley Young could be in at left back.

There isn’t much of a sample size to go from. Both teams struggled in previous outings, but a 2-1 Villa win isn’t too much to ask for. Newcastle looked vulnerable on defense last week, not that Villa didn’t, but I’m more confident in Villa’s ability to bounce back. Allan Saint Maximin will provide trouble, but whether it’s in a 4-4-2 (likely) or 4-3-3 (because I want to see Luiz, McGinn, and Morgan Sanson or Carney Chukwuemeka), there’s reason to be optimistic.