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Opinion

This is the Newcastle team v Aston Villa to keep the winning run going

2 weeks ago
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All eyes are now on the Newcastle team v Aston Villa.

Steve Bruce going into Monday night on the back of the international break of a very long 16 days.

Can NUFC make it three wins in a row?

There is the potential for a change of tactics and/or formation tonight, with it largely resting on whether certain players are available.

Of the six who can play in the three (or two…) centre-back positions, only Fernandez and Dummett are definitely available.

We know for sure that Lascelles is out injured, whilst Clark is a big doubt with a hamstring problem.

As for Schar and Lejeune, four days ago Steve Bruce said he expected both to be in his squad, but being in the squad and in a position to start tonight might be two different things. The Swiss defender has been out for over five weeks, whilst the Frenchman has missed almost eight months of first team action.

I have seen a number of fans and media putting both Schar and Lejeune in their expected teams but I don’t think there is any chance of that, unless Steve Bruce had no other option(s).

I think Dummett and Fernandez are sure to be in the starting eleven and then it is a case of is Clark ok injury-wise and are Schar and/or Lejeune fit enough?

I can’t see Clark being risked with a hamstring problem and my feeling is that if Schar is ok, he will make up a three centre-back line. However, I wouldn’t be that surprised to see Steve Bruce reverting to a back four with possibly four of the six centre-backs not in a position to start.

Going with an expectation Schar can start, then I think it is then automatic both Yedlin and Willems play as wing-backs once again.

Middle of the pitch looks sure to be Shelvey and Hayden, with Sean Longstaff completing his suspension tonight.

Which leaves the front three.

No goals once again from the usual forward trio against Bournemouth and Newcastle do need goals from then, sooner rather than later.

Saint-Maximin and Almiron are essential in our team as it stands, especially playing five at the back, as they get the team up the pitch and provide support for the loan striker with their pace and mobility.

I would give Dwight Gayle a run out tonight though instead of Joelinton, see how he sparks off ASM and Almiron. Hopefully the pace and mobility Gayle has, can give the team an added edge in what could be a very tricky game. Joelinton is then ideal to bring on later when he can hold the ball up and win balls in the air both in defence and up front to help preserve the lead…

If we are honest, the recent wins have come despite a lack of real goal threat from the frontline, rather than them playing a key part generally in creating chances or getting on the end of them.

With Gayle as well you lose nothing defensively as he has always been willing to track back in the past.

Which gives me this Newcastle team v Aston Villa:

Here’s hoping whatever the team selection and tactics/formation, it proves to be a winning one.

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