Number of minutes on pitch so far for all Newcastle players in pre-season friendlies before St Etienne
With only 11 days to go until Newcastle host Arsenal, interesting to see how many minutes on the pitch for each of the Newcastle players in the friendlies so far.
So who have been the leading contenders so far and who is it that doesn’t appear to be a part of Steve Bruce’s plans?
The Newcastle United Head Coach has only Saturday’s home friendly with st Etienne left to gauge which players should be used, once the competitive action begins.
Newcastle have played Wolves, West Ham, Preston and Hibs, so far, with a maximum of 360 minutes available for each player (although rest after international duty and injuries, have impacted on some).
Minutes played in first team pre-season friendlies so far, 27 Newcastle players featuring so far:
97 Longstaff (M)
132 Longstaff (S)
Lascelles, Hayden, Shelvey, Schar and Manquillo are the five with most minutes (212 or more) so far, all pretty much guaranteed to start against Arsenal.
I think everybody would have assumed the first four would start in the first Premier League match, whilst with Yedlin yet to come back from injury and no signings (apart from Joelinton) it looks like we can add Manquillo to that.
Ritchie (178 minutes) would also have been in that group of most minutes and sure to start v Arsenal, if not for last night’s injury at Hibs. Here’s hoping the hamstring problem doesn’t prove too severe.
The other five players who feature in the 11 with most minutes are Aarons, Murphy, Colback, Fernandez and Muto.
This kind of sums up the less than ideal pre-season as I don’t imagine the intention was for any of them to start v Arsenal.
Against Hibs, it appeared that Steve Bruce picked his strongest available team and that included Joelinton who was signed too late to go to China, whilst Almiron had time off after the Copa America.
Sean Longstaff is being eased back in after injury, whilst Dummett has had an issue with his knee.
We have to go down to 14th most minutes before we find a goalkeeper(s) and then neither Darlow or Woodman are set to play against Arsenal.
It is a real puzzle but Steve Bruce insists there is nothing ‘sinister’ in the fact that Dubravka has only played one of the four games and not even been on the bench in the other three.
Here’s hoping the number one keeper does indeed play the full game on Saturday, as it would be a massive blow if he isn’t starting against Arsenal.
The fact there has been none of the other essential signings made, apart from Joelinton, has complicated/simplified matters, depending on how you look at it.
Only eight days to go until transfer deadline and then Premier League kick-off three days afterwards, the stress is set to build ever further from this point.
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