Newcastle United have the chance to make it three wins from three in the Premier League as they host Aston Villa at St James’ Park this afternoon.
The Magpies have won their last two top-flight outings against Everton and Leeds to propel themselves out of the bottom three going into the weekend’s action.
They beat the Toffees 3-1 in their last match as an own goal from Mason Holgate and strikes from Ryan Fraser and Kieran Trippier sealed the three points.
How many changes will Howe make to the team for today? Here is our predicted XI…
We are predicting that he will make three alterations to the side from midweek, with Dan Burn, Javier Manquillo and Bruno Guimaraes all coming in.
Kieran Trippier could miss out at right-back after suffering a knock in midweek, with Howe stating: “We don’t think it’s long-term but we have to make a late call. It would be a big blow to lose him. He’s been key in our uplift, I can’t speak highly enough of him.”
This opens up a place at right-back and Manquillo could come in to fill it. Jacob Murphy is also an option for the Magpies, but his pace in the final third could be useful off the bench in the second half if Newcastle need to inject some urgency into their game, which is why the Spaniard could get the nod if Trippier is unavailable to play.
On the other side of the back four, the left-back position is also vacant. Matt Targett is ineligible to play against his parent club and we are predicting that Dan Burn will be handed his Toon debut. He has played at left-back before while at Brighton and is virtually the only option for Howe in that slot, with Paul Dummett, Matt Ritchie and Targett all out.
The £20k-per-week colossus has averaged a SofaScore rating of 6.96 in the Premier League this season. This shows that he is a reliable performer at this level and has the quality to slot straight into the team, which means that he could do a solid job at left-back today.
Finally, we are predicting that Guimaraes will make his full debut for the club in midfield in place of Jonjo Shelvey. Whilst this may be harsh on the ex-Liverpool man, it could be an exciting moment for Newcastle fans to see the Brazilian play from the start.
He came on in stoppage time against Everton and created one big chance, won two duels and completed his only dribble attempt, as per SofaScore. If he can do all of that in the space of a few minutes, imagine what he could do in a full match against Villa. Howe may want to see what the 24-year-old can do whilst in the starting XI and that is why we are predicting him to start today.