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Opinion

This Newcastle team v Crystal Palace to send NUFC top half at Christmas

11 months ago
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All eyes are now on the Newcastle team v Crystal Palace.

Steve Bruce and his players looking to bounce back after the really poor display and defeat at Burnley.

A win would guarantee Newcastle to be top half at Christmas.

Martin Dubravka is a no-brainer in goal, even though he was at fault for the Burnley winner, the keeper kept the score down with some excellent saves.

In front of him though, at least for this game, I would revert to a back four.

With Ritchie injured, Willems is the only one who can play as a left wing-back. The Dutchman has probably been Newcastle’s worst player these past two games and could probably do with a rest, plus it would allow somebody else extra to play further up the pitch.

Much could of course depend on fitness/injury but Steve Bruce has indicated that Shelvey and Almiron will return unless they have any reaction in training before Saturday.

I would automatically play both of them if fit.

Almiron for his all round play and willingness to work, whilst Shelvey has proved to be the goalscoring talisman out of nowhere.

I would play Shelvey in a more advanced/free role in front of Hayden and Sean Longstaff.

Atsu came in at Burnley but competed with Willems to be Newcastle’s weakest player.

Then try again with Carroll through the middle and Joelinton on the left, with Almiron maybe getting more of a chance further forward than usual under Steve Bruce.

The above gives me this choice of Newcastle team v Crystal Palace:

Newcastle host a Crystal Palace side and victory for either would guarantee a top half position on Christmas Day.

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