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Opinion

Predicted Newcastle team v Chelsea after club injury and fitness update

1 month ago
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All eyes are now on the Newcastle team v Chelsea on Saturday.

After picking up only one point and conceding ten goals in the last four Premier League games, Newcastle needing to bounce back.

Only Liverpool have a better away record than Chelsea, Frank Lampard’s team with seven wins and only three defeats in their 11 Premier League away matches.

With Everton away on Tuesday, it looks a tough end to January in prospect for United.

On Friday morning, Steve Bruce named six players definitely out injured, one late fitness test and two off the injured list.

The positive is that Fabian Schar and Allan Saint-Maximin will be in the squad, whilst unavailable are Paul Dummett, DeAndre Yedlin, Dwight Gayle, Yoshinori Muto, Ki Sung-yeung and Javier Manquillo.

Whilst Andy Carroll will have a late fitness test to see if he can make Saturday’s squad.

I think even if Carroll gets the green light, he won’t be considered as a starter.

The same with Allan Saint-Maximin who has been out for six weeks.

Schar has only been missing for just over two weeks but I think that in Fernandez, Lejeune and Clark we have our three centre-backs. Lascelles did ok against Rochdale on Tuesday but admitted he still isn’t 100%, so I think the sensible route is for him to maybe target Everton a few days after this game.

With Yedlin and Manquillo ruled out, I fancy Isaac Hayden to play right wing-back.

He has willingly been played wherever needed and I can see him used there on Saturday to try and tie down that side.

Up against a decent team there won’t be an expectation on him to get forward much and his presence should also allow Miguel Almiron a bit more freedom to roam in front of him and at times go more central.

With Hayden otherwise engaged, the Longstaff brothers can continue in the middle. Matty has been getting the headlines and scored his third goal of the season on Tuesday night, however, the pair both did ok at Wolves last weekend and should get another chance together. Jonjo Shelvey available as an impact sub as he gets back to full fitness.

With Muto, Gayle and Carroll not available to start, Joelinton will be back in the middle, which leaves the left hand side.

With Atsu continuing to disappoint, I think a combination of Willems and Ritchie can work on the left, with the Holland international set to have a role higher up the pitch in front of Ritchie.

The above gives me this predicted Newcastle team v Chelsea:

Newcastle could go top half again if all the results went their way at the weekend BUT equally, the Magpies could end up only three points above the relegation zone if everything went wrong.

A point would be great, whilst a win taking Newcastle onto 29 points would be massive.

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