Aston Villa host Newcastle United on Saturday at Villa Park (Watch live on NBCSN, 7:45 a.m. ET and online via Live Extra) as the Villans look to continue their good start to the season.
On the opening day of the campaign they beat Stoke City 1-0 away from home and after a few seasons embroiled in relegation battles at the wrong end of the table, is this the year Paul Lambert’s men finally exceed expectations?
Newcastle lost their opener to Manchester City 2-0, but Alan Pardew saw some moments of promise from his side. New signings Remy Cabella and Daryl Janmaat looked at ease on their PL debuts and the Magpies will be confident of picking up their first points of the new campaign away at Villa Park. Newcastle will be hoping for a top half finish again this season, while Villa are hoping for the same. With U.S. national team ‘keeper Brad Guzan securing a shutout on the opening day, the former Chivas USA goalkeeper will now become the USA’s number one after Tim Howard stepped down from the USMNT for the next year.
In team news Aston Villa could see new signing Carlos Sanchez join the squad, while Joe Cole and Jores Okore will return from injury. Newcastle could hand a debut to new signing Siem de Jong, while loan signing Facundo Ferreyra could also feature.
What they’re saying
U.S. ‘keeper Brad Guzan on Villa’s solid defense: “It was a great win at the Britannia Stadium – and we had the added bonus of the clean sheet so it was a good day for everyone at the club. There’s a good confidence in our team. Each player has a big desire to not get beat one on one – in terms of blocking shots, winning balls in the air, winning tackles and winning second balls. When you create that atmosphere and have that in a team, good things will come from it.”
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew: “We face a Villa side which has just picked up an away win and in the Premier League. That is gold-dust, so they will be feeling fairly confident to turn us over at home and we have to make sure we are a really stiff opposition. They have good players – they still carry great players, and it will be a difficult game. But Villa Park is somewhere where we have played well and we have proved we can win there.”
Villa looked solid yet t unspectacular in their opening day win and with the likes of Ron Vlaar and Philippe Senderos at center back, they will be hard to break down. Newcastle forced the issue against Man City but lacked cutting edge up top. The Magpies will struggle to score this season and Villa’s pacey forward, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann, are always a threat. A narrow home win in this one.