New season optimism: Aston Villa can beat Newcastle today

I'm a sucker for new season optimism because I grew up in a time when every summer, all Aston Villa fans thought we could win the league. It's hard to get rid of that. Today, that optimism stretches to winning two games in a row.

But it's possible today, if only because nobody really knows how Newcastle, or us for that matter, are going to do this season. A new season may bring blind optimism, but it also gives us a few weeks to figure out how it's going to go.

But Newcastle are no mugs. They only lost 2-0 to Manchester City and performance wise, if you're a Newcastle fan, you probably wont be that disappointed. Sure, not happy with the result, but if there was positives to take, it was only two and there were glimpses that it's not going to that bad a season.

Home is where the heart is

But we've only won 15 out of the last 57 home games at Villa Park and the last time we beat Newcastle at Villa Park was in 2011, if my stats are right. It's not that long ago, but it does coincide with us maybe not having the worst season we've had in recent times.

However, things are different now. We've got Roy Keane and if one game last weekend is anything to go by, we looked a little more like a team that didn't want to give the ball away too easily and wanted it back as quickly as we could. Yes, I'm grasping at straws, but that is what we do at the start of a season.

We need to win today for this new season optimism to continue, because if we don't win today, that's it and it's going to be a lot harder to get it back with the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea coming up in September and even if we manage to beat Hull next weekend.

Video of the day: The good old days

Updates and team news

So, this is when it all begins. Team news will be with us in a few hours and we'll know from that how the manager wants to play. Will Cole and Sanchez go straight into the side? I think one of them will and I think that's going to be interesting to see.

But the player to watch for today, for me anyway, is Richardson. I've got a feeling this lad can turn out to be something special for us this season. Don't ask me why, I've just got this feeling. And while I'd like to see Cole start (I think it will be Sanchez for Westwood) because i think he could be important too, I'm not so sure that the manager will make too many changes from the side that did so well last week.

And if we win today, it will be the first time in 15 years that we've won the first two matches of a season. A reason to want to be optimistic and I for one am imagining some of the Tweets and post titles I'm going to see if it happens.

Updates here throughout the day, images and links. Get going and for the record, I think we are going to win today.

17th minute

And in case you didn't know, the 17th minute today for Newcastle fans is a tribute to Liam Sweeney and John Alder, two of the 298 killed in the MH17 air disaster during the summer.

I've got a feeling it will be recognised be everyone, I'm just saying.