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Predicted Newcastle team v Sheffield United on Sunday

3 weeks ago
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We now wait on the Newcastle team v Sheffield United to be unveiled.

Steve Bruce looking to improve on a poor run of form before football was suspended.

Only two wins in eleven Premier League games and only the one goal in the most recent five Premier League matches.

Steve Bruce has talked a lot about trying to minimise the number of injuries as the 2019/20 season restarts after a 106 days break for NUFC.

So when predicting Sunday’s Newcastle team v Sheffield United, we surely have to assume that Bruce wouldn’t be reckless and play anybody with any injury or fitness doubts.

Two friendlies were played this past fortnight to prepare players and these six took no part in either game – Matty Longstaff, Rob Elliot, Sean Longstaff, Paul Dummett, Ciaran Clark, Dwight Gayle.

Dummett can’t play anyway because he wasn’t named in the NUFC PL squad after the January window, whilst Elliot is clear third choice keeper and on his way out of the club.

On Friday, Steve Bruce said both Longstaff brothers are missing on Sunday through injury.

He also said Dwight Gayle was a doubt and no mention of Ciaran Clark. I can’t see those latter two starting either, especially when Newcastle have seven games in a 20 day stretch from Sunday 21 June to Saturday 11 July. Why take any risks now?

In total, 18 players featured in both Newcastle friendlies: Martin Dubravka, Karl Darlow. Javier Manquillo, Florian Lejeune, Fabian Schär, Federico Fernández, Danny Rose, DeAndre Yedlin, Jonjo Shelvey, Isaac Hayden, Nabil Bentaleb, Emil Krafth, Allan Saint-Maximin, Matt Ritchie, Miguel Almíron, Valentino Lazaro, Joelinton, Yoshinori Muto

Of those, Steve Bruce said Lejeune is now injured and misses Sheffield United, whilst Matt Ritchie is also a doubt for Sunday.

As for others, Andy Carroll only got a limited run out in the second friendly against Hull, whilst Atsu and Lascelles played in the Middlesbrough friendly but missed the second one against Hull.

No explanation for Atsu’s absence but Lascelles was busy with the arrival of his second child.

So I would say chances are that Ritchie won’t be risked if any doubts, Carroll on the bench at best, whilst I am also ignoring Atsu, who even if fit would be very unlikely to make the team anyway.

So adding Lascelles to those who played both friendlies, I think this is what Steve Bruce has to choose from:

Dubravka, Darlow. Manquillo, Schär, Fernández, Rose, Yedlin, Shelvey, Hayden, Bentaleb, Krafth, Saint-Maximin, Almíron, Lazaro, Joelinton, Muto, Lascelles

This is the team that started in the win at Southampton:

Dubravka, Manquillo, Fernandez, Lascelles, Rose, Hayden, Shelvey, Ritchie, Almiron, Allan Saint-Maximin, Gayle

Whilst it is possible that Steve Bruce could keep that same winning team from back in March, if Gayle and Ritchie were fully fit.

I think instead we will see Joelinton and Lazaro coming in for those two players.

So this is how I predict Steve Bruce’s Newcastle team v Sheffield United will look and a suggested formation:

Here’s hoping whatever team Steve Bruce puts out, it is enough to see Newcastle get three points closer to safety, 38 points would look pretty comfortable.

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