Following an eventful encounter between the clubs in pre-season, Newcastle United vs Aston Villa meet again on Saturday, when they kick off their new Premier League campaigns at St James' Park.
The Premier League is almost upon us! After warming up their boots in pre-season, the stars are ready for the real thing. Following a very productive summer transfer window so far, two of the Premier League's most exciting sides lock horns on opening matchday as Eddie Howe's high-flying Newcastle United play host to Unai Emery's ambitious Aston Villa.
Fresh off their historic UEFA Champions League qualification last time out, many will be expecting the Magpies to compete for a top-four spot once again this campaign, and, to help his side achieve that objective, Harvey Barnes and Sandro Tonali have been brought through the door for big money this summer.
Aston Villa, meanwhile, will be looking to build on their seventh-place finish last season this term. Indeed, this will be their first full season in charge under miracle worker Unai Emery, who took the helm last October, with the Midlands outfit in 17th position in the Premier League with just two wins from 12 matches.
The Spaniard transformed the fortunes of the Midlands outfit completely, making them one of the most in-form teams towards the end of last season. They have had a good transfer window, with players coming in to bolster key areas of the squad.
They snapped up midfield maestro Youri Tielemans on a free transfer from Leicester City in a shrewd piece of business before making statement captures of defender Pau Torres from Villarreal and winger Moussa Diaby from Bayer Leverkusen.
The Villans will fancy themselves getting a result from St. James' Park, having had an excellent, unbeaten pre-season. They had a good Premier League Summer Series Stateside as well as picking up wins against Lazio and Valencia.
Newcastle will be without Joe Willock, Emil Krafth, Javier Manquillo and potentially Fabian Schar for their clash against Villa, though Schar is currently being assessed and might pass fitness tests ahead of the game. The other three will likely be available again in the next month or so.
Aston Villa, meanwhile, are missing Jacob Ramsey and Alex Moreno, who are both recovering from a metatarsal fracture and hamstring tear, respectively. The latter is expected to return in the coming weeks, while Ramsey's recovery could take a little while longer. Emi Buendia, on the other hand, could miss the majority of the season after suffering a reported ACL tear during training.
Newcastle United Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Pope; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn; Tonali, Guimaraes, Joelinton; Almiron, Isak, Barnes
Aston Villa Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Martinez; Konsa, Mings, Torres; Cash, Kamara, Tielemans, Digne; McGinn, Diaby; Watkins
Martinez; Konsa, Botman, Burn, Tonali, Guimaraes, Tielemans, Joelinton; Almiron, Diaby, Watkins.