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Lineups and Discussion: Aston Villa vs. Newcastle

Aston Villa v Malaga - Pre Season Friendly

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 10: Christian Benteke of Aston Villa celebrates after scoring his second goal during a Pre Season Friendly between Aston Villa and Malaga at Villa Park on August 10, 2013 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Aston Villa are ready to continue with their bright start to the season, hosting Newcastle at Villa Park (10 a.m. ET; watch live online via NBC Sports Live Extra).

Sure, one win from three games might not seem like a “bright start”, but considering the matches were against Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool, Paul Lambert’s side haven’t done too poorly for themselves, particularly considering that, had one or two calls gone their way against Chelsea, Villa could’ve come away with at least a point. Add to that their successful transfer window, including holding on to star striker Christian Benteke, and it’s not hard to see why Villa supporters are actually feeling a bit optimistic about this season.

Despite sitting a place above Aston Villa in the Premier League table, having four points to their opponents’ three, Newcastle fans don’t seem to hold the same sort of optimism about their side. Perhaps it’s to do with the 4-0 opening day loss to Manchester City, or the fact that they couldn’t put a single shot on target in the goalless draw against West Ham, or maybe it’s just that Alan Pardew still has seven years to go on his contract. Although Newcastle managed to get three points at home to Fulham last round, the visitors looked woeful, managing just three shots all game. But at least the Magpies can be relieved that their shots were hitting the target last time.

Aston Villa Starting XI: Guzan, Lowton, Okore, Vlaar, Luna; El Ahmadi, Westwood, Delph; Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor

Newcastle Starting XI: Krul; Debuchy, Coloccini (c), Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon; Anita, Sissoko, Cabaye; Remy, Cisse, Ben Arfa.