Newcastle United vs Aston Villa: Match Preview | Premier League 2023/24

Shantanu Tomer
By Shantanu Tomer
7 Min Read

Newcastle United host Aston Villa in an exciting opening day Premier League fixture. The Magpies surpassed everyone’s expectations last season triumphing over giants like Liverpool, and Tottenham to secure an elusive Champions League spot. Expectations have never been higher from the Magpies as they have bolstered their squad from the previous season with the addition of Sandro Tonali and Harvey Barnes. They are expected to continue their imperious form built on the back of a stubborn defence marshalled by Kieran Trippier.

Eddie Howe’s side face stiff competition from Unai Emery-coached Aston Villa, who were flying under Emery in the second half of the season last time around. They were once battling relegation, but post Emery takeover, they turned the ship and turned it around; they did in some style. Both the teams are expected to battle it out for European Cup competition places this season as they have bolstered their existing squads, which made it to European competitions. Villa acquired mouth-watering signings in the form of Youri Tielemans, Pau Torress and club-record signing Moussa Diaby.

Match Details

The match would take place at St. James Park on 11th August at 4:30 pm GMT with Andy Madley as match referee Richard West and Nick Hopton as assistants and Simon Hooper in the VAR box.

Team News

Embed from Getty Images

Newcastle would be without the services of quite a few players as they have a long list of injury problems currently with Emil Krafth, Javi Manquilo and Joe Wilock out due to injury and add to the list first choice CB Fabian Scharr, who is doubtful to start.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa grapples with the likes of Alex Moreno, Emi Buendia and Jacob Ramsey, all out due to injuries.

Match Analysis

Embed from Getty Images

If last season’s narratives are to be analysed, Newcastle United proved nearly invincible on their home turf, while Aston Villa’s away performances left much to be desired. As we approach this matchday, Unai Emery finds himself grappling with significant pressure, with the weight of expectations bearing down upon him.

Much of the credit for Newcastle’s home record was due to their watertight backline, which conceded league second-low 14 home goals last season. Still, it’ll be interesting to see how they cope without the presence of Fabian Scharr in defence.

On paper, Newcastle is superior to Aston Villa, as last season’s stats indicate they are better in all phases of the game. They attack well and defend well, with technical midfielders bolstered by the addition of Sandro Tonali and quick wingers. Their play is quite simple. They rely on effective long balls, again and again, to break down the opposition’s defence.

Unlike other teams in the league, which, when playing out from the back, do so to invite opposition press and attack the empty space, Newcastle doesn’t invite press which is why they often switch ball in the back line. They do so until one of the players at the back can spot a run-up front and play simple diagonal long balls. This is accompanied by streaky wingers and strong strikers upfront in Callum Wilson and Chris Wood, who can hold up the ball and play it through to the run of Joelinton, Willock or Almiron, they have a simple philosophy of attack.

Playing the long ball game often comes with the risk of losing the ball but Magpies are okay with that as they have a resolute back four which defend tightly and rarely let anything past them.

On the other hand, noted for his conservative approach Emery often deploys a compact 4-4-2 shape when defending. Key to their defense is the compact nature of their formation not only horizontally but also vertically with very minimal space midfield line and defense. When playing out from the back they do so to invite opposition press so as to attack the spaces created behind in midfield. When building up they form a diamond at the back with two centre back on either side of the keeper and the two midfielders dropping deep. This allows the fullbacks to gallop forward, but they don’t go bombing towards the wing and often prioritize their defensive duties over attack.

In the final third, they rely on the two strikers up top to drift into the wings. They bank on creating space in the box and hence often play fast counter-attacking football with as few players of opposition present in the box even if that comes with their presence dwindling on the box.

Key Players

Embed from Getty Images

Anticipate witnessing club record signing Moussa Diaby leading the charge in Aston Villa’s attacking strategy, alongside the dependable presence of Ollie Watkins, who is set to assume a crucial role. An intriguing element to observe will be Unai Emery’s approach to deploying two left-footed center-backs in Torress and Mings – a tactical dynamic worth keeping a keen watch on.

Shifting the focus, all eyes will be on Sandro Tonali following his big-money move from AC Milan to St James Park. Equally captivating will be the performance of Harvey Barnes, as he builds on his impressive brace in the last friendly match.

Predicted Lineups

Aston Villa predicted lineup vs Newcastle: Martinez; Cash, Digne, Mings, Torres; Kamara, Luiz; McGinn, Bailey; Diaby, Watkins.

Newcastle predicted lineup vs Aston Villa: Nick Pope, Trippier, Botman, Lascelles, Burns, Guimares, Sandro Tonali, Joelinton, Almiron, Isak, Barnes.

Share this Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *