Newcastle United head to Aston Villa for their first away game of the season.

After a bright start, last week ended in disappointment for the Magpies. We were torn apart in the second half by a rampant West Ham side, who eventually won 4-2.

But there were reasons to be positive as we prepare for a trip to Villa Park.

Newcastle United v West Ham United - Premier League
(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Dean Smith’s side also started the season with a loss, but who will Steve Bruce pick as he looks to get some points on the board?

Captain Jamaal Lascelles predicted to start against Aston Villa

We were all over the place defensively last week, and we massively missed Jamaal Lascelles.

The 27-year-old was on the bench, but he will surely start this week.

(Photo by Daniel Chesterton/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

He will hopefully replace Emil Krafth, forcing Federico Fernandez to play on the right of the back three.

While there will likely be calls from fans for Matt Ritchie to drop to the bench in place of Jamal Lewis, Bruce will probably be unwilling to make too many changes at the back.

 

Joe Willock makes his second Newcastle debut

There will definitely be one change in midfield.

In his pre-match press conference, Bruce confirmed that Jonjo Shelvey has a hamstring problem.

That should open the door for Joe Willock to make his second Newcastle debut. Hopefully it goes as well as his first, when he scored in a 3-2 win over Southampton.

Newcastle United v Southampton - Premier League
(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Shelvey dropping out should allow Isaac Hayden to play in the centre of a midfield three, a role he will find much more appealing.

The 26-year-old looked uncomfortable against West Ham, playing as a ‘number eight’.

Predicted XI to face Aston Villa: Woodman; Fernandez, Lascelles, Clark; Murphy, Willock, Hayden, Almiron, Ritchie; Saint-Maximin, Wilson.

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