The backline is a whole lot more solid with the Slovak behind them. Commands his box like no other at the club, and few others in the division.

Liam Kennedy's Newcastle United starting XI for Aston Villa – with FOUR controversial players dropped from the Magpies' side

For me, the system would be tweaked and personnel changes would be drastic with two season-defining games on the horizon for Newcastle United.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 8:00 am

The Magpies take on Aston Villa at St James’ Park this evening and then face a trip to Premier League relegation rivals Brighton and Hove Albion next weekend.

But, in putting this team together, I’ve taken into consideration that I do not believe, in all likelihood, Steve Bruce and Graeme Jones will alter the system and approach they implemented in recent weeks, which has, to some degrees, seen a very slight upturn in performance.

So I’ve stuck with the 4-3-3 with the false nine and split strikers, despite calling for a change in that department earlier this week.

Still, I have decided to bin some players who have struggled for United of late – and one or two of them are controversial calls, which I do not believe Bruce will make.

Page 1 of 3