Rafa Benitez has just announced the team to play Aston Villa this afternoon and it’s an unchanged side from the side that beat Crystal Palace 1-0 last Saturday – with Gini Wijnaldum holding his place in midfield.
Aston Villa (3-5-2): Mark Bunn; Alan Hutton, Ciaran Clark, Joleon Lescott (c), Kevin Toner, Leandro Bacuna; Ashley Westwood, Carlos Sanchez, Idrissa Gueye; Jordan Ayew, Scott Sinclair
Substitutes: Brad Guzan, Micah Richards, Jordan Lyden, Carles Gil, Jack Grealish, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, Adama Traore
Newcastle (4-2-3-1): Karl Darlow; Vurnon Anita, Chancel Mbemba, Jamaal Lascelles, Paul Dummett; Cheick Tiote, Jack Colback; Andros Townsend, Moussa Sissoko (c), Georginio Wijnaldum; Papiss Cisse
Substitutes: Freddie Woodman, Daryl Janmaat, Steven Taylor, Jonjo Shelvey, Siem de Jong, Ayoze Perez, Aleksandar Mitrovic
Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire)
Daryl Janmaat returns from injury and as expected takes his place on the bench with Anita continuing at right-back.
Rafa has gone with a team in form and our bench is strong for this game too.
This is what Rafa has said about the game today:
“It’s important, this message that we’re giving to them – no complacency. Concentrate,”
“We have seen Aston Villa’s last game and they were doing well against Watford. They did really well, so it’s really important.”
“We will play against Tottenham in the next game, but I think that the most important is this one.”
“If we win this one, we’ll approach the next one with the fans behind us and it will be easier to keep everyone on their toes and motivated.”
“But for this game, we need to be sure we’re focused and we cannot lose our concentration.”
“Villa are a good team, but they are in a bad position and they have lost confidence, but they still have some good players and the work rate is there.”
For us, that is the main thing – that we will play at our level.”
“If we win, it will be because the players are working as hard as they are working now. If we cannot, maybe it will be because Aston Villa have done well, but I have the confidence that we can win.”
There is real confidence amongst the fans that we can win this game.