Newcastle expected 4-2-3-1 v Aston Villa: Benitez to make four changes
By Amir Mir
Ciaran Clark could line up against his former club when Newcastle face Aston Villa on Saturday evening.
Rafa Benitez is likely to make four changes to the side that beat Wolves 2-0 on Tuesday night to progress through to the next round of the EFL Cup.
Grant Hanley, Achraf Lazaar, Mo Diame and Daryl Murphy could make way for Jamaal Lascelles, Paul Dummett, Ayoze Perez and Dwight Gayle.
Magpies captain Lascelles could return at the heart of defence, with Clark lining up alongside him at Villa Park.
Left-back Dummett is likely to return in place of Lazaar, with DeAndre Yedlin continuing at right-back, as Vurnon Anita serves a three match ban after getting sent off in his sides previous league fixture.
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In-form midfielder Jonjo Shelvey could start his seventh consecutive game for Benitez’s side after scoring three goals in his last four games for the north east club.
Additionally, Jack Colback is expected to get the nod ahead of Isaac Hayden and Mo Diame in the middle of the park.
Matt Ritchie is set to start out wide, with his speed, physicality and directness likely to cause problems to the Villa defence.
Additionally, Yoan Gouffran who scored a spectacular volley during midweek will be looking to continue his good form on the left.
Striker Gayle who has notched up four goals in six Championship games this term is expected to return in place of Murphy, with Perez playing in behind.
Benitez takes on Roberto Di Matteo’s Aston Villa side who have started the Championship campaign in slow fashion with only eight points from their opening eight games.
In contract, the Magpies are in third place having registered fifteen points, with five wins and three losses to their name.
Surprisingly this is the first time two former European cup winning managers will meet in the second-tier of any league in Europe.
In other Newcastle team news, the club’s senior player has stepped up his road to recovery with a long awaited appearance.