New manager bounce: Aston Villa and Newcastle to mark new era with wins

Steven Gerrard and Eddie Howe return to the Premier League this weekend as they make their managerial bows for Aston Villa and Newcastle.

Gerrard took over at Villa Park from Dean Smith who endured a difficult start to the season.

The Villans lost Jack Grealish over the summer and spent big to try and fill his void. However, a run of five straight defeats left Smith's men down in 16th place - just two points above the relegation zone.

It was this run of defeats which ultimately led to Smith's departure. The attention now turns to Gerrard who hopes to turn the club's fortunes around, starting with a home game against Brighton.

Eddie Howe, on the other hand, faces an arguably tougher task of keeping Newcastle United in the Premier League.

The 43-year-old has been out of work since Bournemouth's relegation to the Championship.

Rejuvenated and ready, Howe now hopes to begin his new managerial journey with a victory over Brentford.

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Gerrard needs to fix leaky defence

New Aston Villa manager, Steven Gerrard

The most pressing task for Steven Gerrard will be doing something about Aston Villa's ever-worsening defensive record.

The team have conceded 13 goals from their last five games - more than any other Premier League team over the same number of matches.

Finding the right defensive formation has been a real issue at Villa Park with the team often switching between three and four at the back.

Should the Villans tighten things at the back, they will have more than half a chance of keeping all three points in Birmingham. In truth, part of that is because of Brighton's recent dip in form.

The Seagulls are on a seven-match winless run across all competitions and haven't tasted a Premier League win since late September.

Graham Potter's men entered the international break on the back of a 1-1 draw against Newcastle - hardly a convincing home result against one of the leagues weakest outfits.

With that in mind, we're backing Villa to take advantage and win their fourth league game of the season.

Eddie Howe can take advantage of injury-hit Brentford

Newly appointed Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe meets fans outside after a press conference at St. James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Eddie Howe couldn't have wished for a better game to start life at St James' Park.

Brentford are not only on a bad run of results but they're also badly hit by injuries. Simply put, they are there for the taking.

Last time out, the Bees fell to a 2-1 home defeat against bottom-of-the-table Norwich. This was their fourth straight defeat in the Premier League and one which saw them slide to 14th in the table.

As the early season momentum looks to have run dry for Thomas Frank, there's plenty of it to be found at Newcastle.

With a new manager finally in place and an enormous transfer budget set for January, the Magpies could be heading towards an exciting new era.

We're backing that era to kick off with a win - Newcastle's first of the Premier League season.

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