Newcastle United-Aston Villa Preview

RYAN WILLOX (STATS Football Writer)
The Associated Press

Newcastle United's trip to face Aston Villa in Saturday's early kick-off may have come at just the right time for the struggling Magpies.

Alan Pardew's side have had Aston Villa's number in recent times with four wins and two draws in their last six meetings and triumphs on their last two visits to Villa Park.

After a 2-0 loss in their home opener to champions Manchester City last weekend, the Magpies already sit at the foot of the table and have lost eight of nine in the Premier League going back to last season.

Pardew knows breaking one streak by continuing another will not be easy against high-flying Villa, who began their league campaign with an impressive 1-0 win at Stoke City.

"We will be facing a Villa side who will be full of confidence after a great away win last week," Pardew told the official club website. "We have to be stiff opposition."

Newcastle will have to find a way to integrate their nine summer signings into the fold quickly with several significant players already ruled out through injury.

Davide Santon, Papiss Cisse, Ryan Taylor (all knee) and Cheick Tiote (hamstring), all heavily influential for Newcastle, are all out for Saturday's game.

It was not all bad news for Pardew, who confirmed that Siem de Jong, signed in the summer from Ajax, was fit and could make his competitive debut.

De Jong has recovered from a calf injury that ruled him out of the defeat to City and is in the squad to play against Villa.

"We had him in pre-season, but he missed last week," said Pardew. "He's back this week, I think he's keen to start, we'll have to wait and see if he's ready but his enthusiasm is good and his CV and quality speaks for itself.

"Hopefully he can produce a great season for us."

Villa got off to the perfect start last week when a second-half goal from Andreas Weimann was enough to secure victory over Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.

Now Villa boss Paul Lambert is looking for Weimann to show some consistency with his scoring form to help Villa extend their good start.

"I think Andi has got to add more goals to his game," Lambert told the official club website. "If he does that he will go again. His work-rate is never in doubt and his enthusiasm for the game is second to none.

"Top players will be recognised for their goals. If you can do that, then you have a really top striker on your books. The great thing about Andi is I know he can play in the middle or off the front. I know I can play him either side too."

Lambert has added new signing Carlos Sanchez and recovering duo Joe Cole (hamstring) and Jores Okore to his squad for the match.

Long-term injuries Christian Benteke (Achilles) and Libor Kozak (leg) are both out.

Newcastle did the league double over Villa last season, winning 2-1 at Villa Park in September through goals from Hatem Ben Arfa and Yoan Gouffran. Benteke responded for Villa.

The Magpies won 1-0 at St. James' Park in February via a stoppage-time goal from Loic Remy.

Newcastle was the only team that did not hit a single shot on target in the opening weekend of the season.

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