Following on from Aston Villa’s poor 2021/22 opener against Watford last weekend, head coach Dean Smith is looking for a reaction from the players – and we’ll certainly be looking to start where we left off given the improvement we saw – as we welcome the fans and Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United back to Villa Park.
Smith on the Villa Park atmosphere: “I remember our first win back in the Premier League against Everton, the atmosphere was incredible, hopefully we get that again.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) August 20, 2021
We shouldn’t have anything to fear from Newcastle as we saw both their best and worst last season and the soft defensive underbelly that Ollie Watkins should’ve massively punished last time out is still there in all its 4-2 defeat to West Ham United glory.
With that said, which Aston Villa will turn up?
We’ll already be without Watkins as his knee injury will keep him out until at least Brentford, if not until after the international break and we’ve lost Bertie Traore for a month to a hamstring injury.
All eyes to Danny Ings then.
“Ollie Watkins, I don’t expect to play. He’s not healed as quick as we would have liked so far. I’m hopeful that he’ll be back for Brentford. If not, he’ll definitely be back after the international break. He suffered a knee injury. I don’t know too much about what it was but we were hopeful he’d be ready for tomorrow, but I don’t expect him to play. Bertrand Traore suffered a hamstring injury in the game last week, so he’s going to be out until just after the international break. Other than that, we’re fine.”
Smith added about the capture of former Southampton striker Ings.
“We understand the quality that we’ve got with Danny Ings. He’s a top goalscorer in the Premier League and he was one that we wanted to get. As I said, I didn’t want the onus to start falling on Ollie Watkins given what he did last season. It was Sod’s law that someone who hasn’t been injured for the last three years gets injured the week before the season starts.”
Vital Villa’s Newcastle Match Thread