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Opinion

This much changed Newcastle team v Manchester City can get surprise result

2 weeks ago
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All eyes are now on the Newcastle team v Manchester City.

Steve Bruce going into Saturday afternoon’s match on the back of a poor effort at Aston Villa.

The match ended 2-0 but it could easily have been a Villa win by four or more, as the home side missed some real sitters.

What has surely become crystal clear, is that what we have in place isn’t working.

The recent wins over West Ham and Bournemouth have been despite the tactics/formation, not because of them.

Not scoring enough goals, whilst allowing far too many chances for the opposition, even in those recent wins.

As it is taken as all but guaranteed that Newcastle will lose, surely Saturday is the ideal time to try something different.

Try out different players and/or formation before the key games against Sheffield United and especially Southampton.

I would return to a back four, at least for this game.

Dubravka obviously staying in goal but in front of him only the two centre-backs.

I thought Clark did ok on Monday night and has otherwise played very well, then alongside him I think time to at least give Florian Lejeune a start. He had a couple of matches for the reserves and the past few weeks Steve Bruce as said he is available, so time to bring in what I believe is our best central defender.

Man City are all about pace and movement so it makes sense to me to leave Fernandez out as no target man to mark.

With a back four, I think it is also an easy choice to rest Willems and Yedlin. Neither of them are great defenders and Dummett is by far our bets option as an out and out defensive left-back, whilst on the other side, Fabian Schar can come in and do a job on the right, at least for this game. As well as being a much better defender than Yedlin, Schar should also help Newcastle keep the ball better.

Shelvey was shocking at Villa and it is an automatic choice surely for Sean Longstaff to come back in and play alongside Isaac Hayden. They were the partnership and key players when beating Man City in January (see above – Longstaff winning the vital penalty for the second goal) and their legs/workrate will be needed here to try and disrupt the visitors’ flowing football. Jonjo Shelvey would be a liability in a game like this with his lack of mobility and workrate.

I would keep Saint-Maximin and Almiron as wide midfielders/wingers, they are both excellent at tracking back and have the pace and stamina to do it, whilst still helping Newcastle’s threat at the other end.

Time though to make a bit of a change up front and give Dwight Gayle a chance playing with Joelinton. The Brazilian has been ridiculously isolated with the tactics this season and when given the chance to attack, two of them with ASM and Almiron supporting could potentially do some damage on Saturday. Plus like the wide pair, the two strikers have always shown a great commitment in terms of a willingness to track back as well.

Which gives me this Newcastle team v Manchester City:

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

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