Newcastle United travel to Aston Villa in a search for their first points of the 2021/22 season after losing 2-4 at the hands of West Ham United on an opening day.
The two teams are looking to get some points on the board after disappointing losses for both sides last weekend. Villa were defeated by newly promoted Watford at Vicarage Road, and the 3-2 scoreline probably flattered those in Claret and Blue.
Newcastle on the other hand, lost 2-4 at home to West Ham last weekend, so Steve Bruce will be desperate to get the magpies up and running this campaign.
Allan Saint-Maximin was the standout player for Bruce's men, and looked electric in that Newcastle front three and also claimed an assist for Newcastle's first goal. Dean Smith will certainly be thinking about how Matt Targett and Matty Cash can suppress this threat down either side, as Saint-Maximin will cause trouble whichever wing he's on.
Dean Smith confirmed this morning that Ollie Watkins will once again be absent through a knee injury, and also that Bertrand Traore will miss out due to a hamstring strain. He also said that Jamaican winger Leon Bailey is unlikely to start, but just like last week, he may feature in the second half.
Steve Bruce is going to be without creative midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, who is struggling with a calf injury. Bruce also confirmed that Freddie Woodman will start in between the sticks for Newcastle, with their first and second choice goalkeepers unable to play due to injuries.
Aston Villa: Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; McGinn, Nakamba; Young, Buendia, El Ghazi, Ings
Newcastle United: Woodman; Murphy, Lascelles, Fernandez, Clark, Ritchie; Hayden, Fraser, Almiron; Wilson, Saint-Maximin
The last time these two sides met was at St. James Park, and the was honours even with a goal each. Ex Villa defender Ciaran Clark scored a late own goal for the Villains, but Jamal Lascelles levelled up the scores in the 94th minute with a bullet header.
At Villa Park, goals scored by Ollie Watkins and Bertrand Traore ensured 3 points for Smith's team, as Villa came out 2-0 victors.
Ones to Watch
Allan Saint-Maximin could cause the Villa defence all sorts of issues. His electric pace and tricky feet are a nightmare for defenders at the best of times, and on his day, the Frenchman is simply unplayable. Fans saw Targett struggle last week against Ismaila Sarr, and it could be another long afternoon for Villa's left back.
Danny Ings scores goals. Whether it's for Southampton, Burnley or Liverpool, he has always been lively and loved putting the ball in the back of the net. With a goal already to his name, he will be looking to add to that tally - and I am sure he is thrilled to hear that Newcastle's first two choice goalkeepers are sidelined.
Where to Watch
This game is at Villa Park on Saturday the 21st of August at 15:00, but it is not being live broadcasted in the UK.