After a poor performance in the 0-0 draw with QPR on Monday night, Alan Pardew needs to make some changes if he wants to get a result at Villa Park.
The 4-4-2 formation at QPR simply didn't work. If Pardew selects the same side against Villa, Newcastle will once again be overrun in midfield.
Pardew needs to change to a 4-5-1 formation. Shola Ameobi was completely ineffectual against QPR and seems the likely candidate to drop out of attack.
Dan Gosling put in a dazzling display for the reserves earlier this week and should be drafted in to play an attacking midfield role. Gosling could assist Cabaye and Tiote defensively, as well as getting forward to support Leon Best.
Gosling managed two goals for the reserves and looks to be Newcastle's most likely source of goals from midfield. The youngster deserves to be given a chance against Villa.
Another major area of concern is at left-back. While Ryan Taylor has worked hard out-of-position in the first few games, he was badly exposed by the pace of Shaun Wright-Phillips in the QPR game.
Alex McCleish will have watched Monday night's game with interest and will no doubt be planning to have Charles N'Zogbia or Marc Albrighton target Taylor's lack of pace.
Newcastle are short of options with new signing Davide Santon ruled out for at least a month due to knee surgery. Youngster Shane Ferguson did come through a reserve game earlier in the week and, as a natural left-back with considerable pace, he should be drafted in to replace Taylor.
While Pardew may also want to consider freshening up his wing options by bringing in Sylvain Marveaux or Sammy Ameobi, the changes detailed above are absolutely essential if Newcastle want to stand any chance of taking three points away from Villa Park.
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