The two largest clubs in the English second division take aim at each other in this important match. 3rd-place Newcastle United travel to Villa Park to face Aston Villa.
Perhaps the biggest home match for Aston Villa this season takes place tomorrow afternoon. Two former Premier League giants focus their attention on achieving promotion back to the top flight.
This is perhaps the only documented case of two UEFA Champions League winning managers facing off in the English Championship.
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Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United have enjoyed a fast start to the season–winning five of their first eight matches with a whopping plus ten goal differential. A win at Villa Park will only boost confidence in his squad that suffered two consecutive defeats to start the year.
Their great form will prove challenging to a Roberto Di Matteo-led side that suffered three successive disappointing draws. A loss here for Aston Villa could very well derail hope for automatic promotion back to the Premier League.
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Dealing with a host of injuries, Di Matteo must hope for the return of Aaron Tshibola to shore-up a patchy central midfield.
Strikers Rudy Gestede and Ross McCormack, as well as center back Nathan Baker face late fitness tests in order to participate in Saturday’s clash.
The club and manager have yet comment on Jack Grealish’s availability for the match. The internal investigation is still ongoing after reports of a raucous hotel party thrown by the Villa starlet.
The inclusion of Albert Adomah lets Villa seamlessly transform into a 4-3-3 shape. A natural right winger, Adomah will able to properly cover Bacuna’s flank as he seeks to whip balls in the eighteen. Jordan Ayew cutting-in from the left will open up space for Jordan Amavi to operate. His high-pressing was very noticeable in the Ipswich match that saw him go just under seventy minutes.
A three man pivot midfield will be utterly crucial in the center of the pitch. Mile Jedinak, Ashley Westwood, and Aaron Tshibola will be tasked with slowing down the Newcastle pair of Isaac Hayden and Jack Colback.
I expect a match rife with hard tackles and countless bookings. Two goals may be enough for either side to get the much-needed three points.
Newcastle have a host of attacking options from which to choose from. Ayoze Pérez, Mo Diame, and Christian Atsu could all force their way into Benitez’s lineup.
In addition to DeAndre Yedlin who takes over for the suspended Vurnon Anita, ex-Villa player Ciaran Clark makes his return home. Clark spent sixteen years affiliated with the club–all the way back to his academy days.
Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30PM Eastern Standard Time. The match is live on Sky Sports as well as available for streaming on BeIn Sports in the U.S.