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Newcastle v Aston Villa: Ba's Back

Written by Newcastle Utd

Demba Ba returns to the starting line-up for Newcastle against Aston Villa - one of two changes from the midweek win at Blackburn

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Demba Ba's return to the starting line-up is one of two changes for Newcastle United ahead of today's home game against Aston Villa (kick-off 1.30pm).

The Senegalese striker is restored to the side after missing the last five matches while representing his country in the African Cup of Nations.

Shola Ameobi makes way for the 15-goal frontman, who will be partnered by Leon Best - the man who scored the only goal in United's last outing at the Sports Direct Arena, against Queens Park Rangers.

The other change sees James Perch come in for Hatem Ben Arfa.

The ex-Nottingham Forest man was a half-time replacement for Ben Arfa at Blackburn in midweek and Pardew has opted to go with the 4-4-2 formation which served him well in the second period at Ewood Park.

Perch will provide steel in midfield alongside Danny Guthrie, who will be asked to create, while Ryan Taylor and Jonas Gutierrez will occupy the flanks.

Wednesday night's penalty hero Tim Krul once again starts in goal, while the defence has a familiar look about it.

New signing Papiss Cisse is on the bench.

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon; Ryan Taylor, James Perch, Danny Guthrie, Jonas Gutierrez; Leon Best, Demba Ba

Substitutes: Rob Elliot, Shane Ferguson, Dan Gosling, Gabriel Obertan, Hatem Ben Arfa, Shola Ameobi, Papiss Cisse


Aston Villa (4-4-1-1): Shay Given; Alan Hutton, Richard Dunne, Carlos Cuellar, Stephen Warnock; Stephen Ireland, Ciaran Clark, Stiliyan Petrov (c), Charles N'Zogbia; Robbie Keane, Darren Bent

Substitutes: Brad Guzan, Andreas Weimann, Eric Lichaj, Gary Gardner, Barry Bannan, Nathan Baker, Emile Heskey

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