The best Newcastle United XI to deploy against Aston Villa

Isaac Hayden of Newcastle United. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
Isaac Hayden of Newcastle United. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images) /

Newcastle United have a massive game ahead of them this weekend when they go up against an Aston Villa side that is eager to compete after being quarantined due to a COVID outbreak in their camp. Steve Bruce will be hoping the Magpies can take three points against his former side, but some fans will be hoping for a defeat, which could lead to his departure from Tyneside.

Newcastle United have not won a game since December 12th (2-1 vs. West Brom), but their recent performances against Sheffield United (0-1) and Arsenal (0-3) have only generated pessimism among the Toon Army.

Dean Smith has made it clear that his players do not believe in squad rotation, and their star players are always ready for battle, especially Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley in midfield. Newcastle United will need to match that energy on both ends of the pitch if they wish to stand a chance.

In order to turn the corner against Aston Villa, Bruce must make a few changes from last time out. That being said, this is the lineup Bruce should select for Saturday’s must-win game on the road.

The 4-4-2 shape is fine, but Newcastle United need to make changes in every third of the pitch.

Karl Darlow should get the nod once more between the sticks, but if multiple goals are conceded then Martin Dubravka might be the guardian against Leeds United.

The defensive line ahead of Darlow should see Ciaran Clark and Jamaal Lascelles start in the middle, unless Federico Fernandez is fit, but two changes are needed out wide.

Emil Krafth and Jamal Lewis must be dropped to make way for Javier Manquillo, who was listed on the bench at Arsenal, and Matt Ritchie. This duo provides more pace, aggression, and both are good for a few decent deliveries into the box.

Two changes are also needed in midfield. The only players to keep their places in the middle are Matty Longstaff and Miguel Almiron.

The useless Joelinton needs to be replaced by the quick and confident Jacob Murphy on the wing opposite of Miguel Almiron, however, we should see Allan Saint-Maximin come off the bench as he prepares for his gradual return.

Isaac Hayden needs to come in for Jonjo Shelvey, who did a better job of covering more ground against Arsenal, but was lazy on the ball.

Starting Callum Wilson up top is a no-brainer, but it is time to hand Dwight Gayle his first start of the campaign as Wilson’s partner. Gayle knows how to get in dangerous positions, he always gets a few shots off from close distance, and he is the best option to link up with Wilson in the final third.

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Darlow; Ritchie, Lascelles, Clark, Manquillo; Almiron, M. Longstaff, Hayden, Murphy; Wilson, Gayle.