Saturday 3 January 3pm
John Carver has stated that he will put his strongest team out today, as United attempt to stop the season collapsing totally today.
A committed performance and at least avoiding defeat, will go some way to convincing fans that at the very least both players and caretaker John Carver are rowing in the same direction.
Earlier, Carver described as ‘carnage’ the situation he’d been left with after Pardew walked out, with next to no time to prepare for two games within 48 hours of each other.
An enterprising formation and committed first half looked to have set him up for a first game win against Burnley, but the players and seemingly John Carver lost their way in that second half – the stand-in boss admitting that they were lucky to escape with a point by the final whistle.
Former Newcastle coach Nigel Pearson has already indicated he will make changes and in assessing the likely line-ups for these matches t it is almost impossible.
While Carver said he would put his strongest team out today, he also said his option would be very limited anyway.
I can’t believe he would risk either Jonas Gutierrez or Davide Santon after so little preparation, especially in a match which is likely to be more blood and thunder than intricate play.
Having said that, despite being bottom Leicester went to Anfield on Thursday and certainly judging by the highlights they both deserved to win the match through good play AND were cheated out of it by the ref with two shocking penalty decisions.
To fight back from two down shows their character hasn’t disappeared and maybe United will need one moment of magic as Gabriel Obertan provided in what was a poor match at St.James’ Park that instigated a temporary upturn in Newcastle’s fortunes as they went on a winning run.
I’m not looking forward any further than today at the minute and just hoping we are at least in the draw for the fourth round, by which time we may have the likes of Tim Krul and one or two others back.
I can see three changes being made from the Burnley line-up.
Williamson I think will come in for Taylor with Dummett staying at left-back, Haidara having done nothing to convince when he came on as a sub.
I think Riviere will keep his place after doing ok in terms of effort on Thursday but just maybe I can see Cabella being given the chance as Carver is under pressure to bring creativity into the team.
If Tiote is off on African Nations duty already then I foresee Vurnon Anita getting the chance to try and help the team retain the ball a bit better in the middle.
Predicted starting 11;
See all the Leicester v Newcastle betting HERE