By Amir Mir
Ross McCormack, Ayoze Perez and Ciaran Clark would miss out in a combined Aston Villa and Newcastle best possible XI ahead of their eagerly anticipated showdown.
The Championship big boys meet on Saturday evening, with former European Cup winning managers Roberto Di Matteo and Rafa Benitez set to clash at Villa Park.
In attack in the composite team, Dwight Gayle is a certain starter, with the Magpies forward a definite goal threat having already bagged four goals in six Championship games this term.
Jonathan Kodjia would play in behind the speedster, with the Villa attacker providing strength, pace and ability on the ball to complement the Newcastle forward.
Therefore, the likes of McCormack, Perez and Aleksandar Mitrovic are omitted in the expense of the attacking duo.
On the flanks it is fairly simple with Jack Grealish and Matt Richie occupying the wide areas. Their ability to beat defenders and create numerous chances for their attackers gives them a place in the starting XI.
In midfield Mile Jedinak’s ability to break up play and win important duels gives him a place in the combined XI ahead of Ashley Westwood, Mo Diame and Isaac Hayden.
Jedinak complements Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey who can pick out a pass or score a thunderbolt from any given situation, with the 24-year-old having scored three goals in his last four games.
Tommy Elphick would wear the captain’s armband, as his leadership qualities and ability to read the game would serve well alongside Jamaal Lascelles. That means Clark, James Chester, and Grant Hanley all miss out.
The full-back positions are perhaps the weakest areas with Jordan Amavi’s ability going forward giving him the edge over Paul Dummett and teammate Aly Cissokho.
Meanwhile DeAndre Yedlin’s raw pace makes him a definite starter ahead of Micah Richards, Alan Hutton and teammate Vurnon Anita.
In other Aston Villa team news, Jonathan Kodjia makes bold claim about his new club, runs the rule over his new teammates.