Predicted Newcastle team v Arsenal – Steve Bruce first selection
The Newcastle team v Arsenal will be an interesting selection for Steve Bruce.
The NUFC Head Coach appearing to have a number of selection dilemmas, although in reality, circumstances may dictate a lot of his choices.
Newcastle looking to make it seven wins in nine Premier League games at St James Park, having ended last season with six victories from the last eight on home soil.
When asked about injuries on Friday the NUFC head coach said:
“With the ongoing problem with Yedlin, it was vitally important we strengthened in that area.
“Dwight Gayle has a calf injury and I haven’t even seen him train yet.
“Atsu hasn’t really featured with us at all; he’s got a knee injury. Everybody else is OK.”
In terms of ‘everyone else is ok’, obviously that excluded Andy Carroll as well, who won’t be seen until September at the earliest after no pre-season. Whilst Florian Lejeune is still recovering from his latest operation.
That then leaves 20 of the senior 25 man Premier League squad named yesterday, up for selection, with the likes of under 21s Matty Longstaff and Elias Sorensen possibly getting some sort of chance this season but surely not on Sunday.
With three of the 20 being goalkeepers, we know Martin Dubravka will start against Arsenal, Karl Darlow on the bench and Rob Elliot third choice, which then takes us down to 17 outfield players for 10 spaces.
Steve Bruce has adopted the successful three/five at the back which Rafa Benitez drilled into the team.
However, whereas Rafa favoured a 5-2-3 (5-2-2-1 in reality), Steve Bruce has been going with a 5-3-2 (5-3-1-1 in reality).
When I talk about circumstances affecting team selection, I think it is common sense that apart from Joelinton, the other new signings only came in these past eight days and are very unlikely to start, though a place on the bench is very likely for some/all, apart from Andy Carroll.
So in front of Dubravka I think we will see Schar, Lascelles and Dummett as the three centre-backs, the only possible difference being Fernandez for Dummett.
Then with Matt Ritchie back in training, I see he and Manquillo as the wing-backs (Krafth and Willems on the bench at best).
Longstaff, Hayden and Shelvey look sure to be the midfield three.
Whilst Almiron playing in support of Joelinton looks nailed on, Allan Saint-Maximin kept back for the time being as an impact sub.
Which gives me this predicted Newcastle team v Arsenal:
The subs to be Karl Darlow and six of Ciaran Clark, Ki Sung-yueng, Allan Saint-Maximin, Yoshinori Muto, Jetro Willems, Emil Krafth and Federico Fernández.
Looking back at Rafa’s last team selection in that 4-0 win at Fulham, he selected:
Dubravka, Hayden, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey, Atsu, Perez, Rondon
Of those 11, seven are in my selection, with Atsu now injured and Perez, Diame and Rondon all having left Newcastle.
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