Newcastle XI proposal vs. Aston Villa: 3 players restored to lineup

Newcastle United F.C.'s Jacob Murphy (Photo by ALEX PANTLING/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Newcastle United F.C.'s Jacob Murphy (Photo by ALEX PANTLING/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Newcastle United will be on the road once again this week, this time against Aston Villa.

Friday games are becoming more common for Newcastle United as this week’s clash against Aston Villa will mark the Magpies’ third game on that day of the week this season.

So far, Newcastle United have been a mixed bag on Fridays with a 2-0 loss away at Southampton and a 2-0 victory away at Crystal Palace.

Aston Villa will be difficult to beat as they boast the fifth-best defensive record in the top flight, and their tally of 20 goals scored makes them the third-highest scoring team in the Premier League.

With Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins full of confidence, Newcastle United’s back line will be in for a busy shift.

Newcastle United have sufficient talent to open up and attack more against Aston Villa as they did last Friday at Selhurst Park, but more players not named Callum Wilson need to start filling up the stat sheet.

That being said, here is the lineup Steve Bruce should go with when he returns to his old stomping ground.

Formation: 4-2-3-1

The shape should remain unchanged from last Friday’s clash. Pundits were calling it a 4-4-2, but Joelinton was playing in the role of an attacking midfielder, which worked out well for Newcastle United.

Lineup Proposal

There has been no word on the return of Martin Dubravka, so Karl Darlow is a sure thing between the sticks. The back line should stay the same as well.

Javier Manquillo did well to bounce back from his terrible performance against Chelsea, and Ciaran Clark does not deserve to be dropped even if Jamaal Lascelles has recovered from his thigh injury.

Two changes need to be made in midfield, though, and one of those changes should take place in the middle of the park. Jonjo Shelvey did well to spread the ball around against Crystal Palace, but Sean Longstaff’s impact was minimal.

The youngster should be replaced with Isaac Hayden, who can provide more composure on the ball and more aggression off of it. The only question mark surrounding Hayden is his COVID status, which would then keep the door open for Sean Longstaff.

The attacking trio behind the lone striker is up in the air depending on Allan Saint-Maximin’s injury status, but since he is supposedly battling a hamstring problem he will most likely miss out again.

Jeff Hendrick played as a winger last week, but he should be demoted and replaced by Jacob Murphy. Joelinton should continue in his new number ten role seeing that he took seven shots, scored a goal, and bagged an assist last time out.

Most fans will call for Miguel Almiron to start on the other wing, but Bruce should give the nod to Matt Ritchie as his precise crosses could set up a goal or two for sharp shooter Callum Wilson in the box, especially if the Magpies will operate on limited chances.

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Darlow; Manquillo, Fernandez, Clark, Lewis; Shelvey, Hayden; Ritchie, Joelinton, Murphy; Wilson.