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Predicted Newcastle United team v Manchester United on Boxing Day

4 weeks ago
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All eyes are now on the Newcastle United team v Manchester United on Boxing Day.

Steve Bruce and his players facing his old club, attempting to do the double.

The Mancs only ahead of United on goal difference, ahead of Thursday’sĀ  match which is the halfway point of the season.

Allan Saint-Maximin, Ki Sung-yeung, Jamaal Lascelles, Matt Ritchie and Ciaran Clark are all ruled out.

Steve Bruce has also indicated that Andy Carroll is more likely to be kept for the Everton match, saying there is no way the striker can start two games within 48 hours.

Paul Dummett has a groin problem after being forced off against Palace, whilst Jetro Willems is now back in training this week after missing Saturdays game, with Steve Bruce saying he is being monitored. The Head Coach also having said that he won’t take risks with any player who isn’t 100%.

I think it is clear that Everton on Saturday will be seen as a more winnable game and one where the likes of Carroll could have more impact. Plus it makes sense to give Dummett and Willems at least those couple of extra days rather than considering them for Old Trafford, even if they were feeling ok.

This also has the benefit of giving other players a game as well.

Dubravka obviously will start and I see no way that the three centre-backs will change after the clean sheet and win on Saturday, particularly with Lascelles and Clark injured and worries over Dummett.

A little unfair on Manquillo maybe after playing so well in recent games but I fancy he will be asked to fill in at left wing-back where he has done ok before, giving Yedlin the chance to come back in on the right.

Centre of midfield?

You aren’t going to get the best out of Jonjo Shelvey if asking him to start both games, so it makes sense to me if he is available as an impact sub at Old Trafford and starts against Everton. Which gives Sean Longstaff a chance alongside Isaac Hayden, which may be no bad thing as the pair will be asked to do a lot of running against Man Utd.

Like Shelvey, I think it also makes sense to have Carroll available to start on Saturday and on the bench as a potential impact sub at Old Trafford.

This opens the door for Dwight Gayle to get his first start under Steve Bruce and I fancy that will be as the central striker, Gayle having given NUFC the lead here inĀ November 2017 until a rare feeble collapse under Rafa Benitez saw a 4-1 final scoreline.

With Gayle through the middle, that gives the opportunity for Joelinton to build a little more confidence playing wide left again, or as a second striker, rather than the main expectation for goals.

Completing the picture of course is Miguel Almiron who will be buzzing and needs to be given as much freedom as possible to get in threatening positions.

The above gives me this predicted Steve Bruce Newcastle United team v Manchester United:

Newcastle United visit Man Utd, a club where the manager is under pressure and they have just lost to bottom of the table Watford.

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