Predicted Newcastle team v West Ham to kick off season – Six changes
Interesting to see what the Newcastle team v West Ham will be on the opening day.
After a run of only four wins in the last 20 Premier League matches last season and only two points from the last six PL games, it would obviously be a much welcome boost to Steve Bruce and his team / squad if they can get a positive result in East London.
This West Ham match coming less than seven weeks since the 2019/20 final day 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at St James Park.
The Newcastle team v Liverpool on 26 July 2020 was:
Dubravka, Manquillo, Fernandez, Rose, Shelvey, Bentaleb, Lazaro, Almiron, Ritchie, Gayle, Saint-Maximin
I expect more than a few changes…
Playing away at the Hammers has actually been one of the more productive NUFC away trips in recent times, especially when it comes to matches in the capital.
Newcastle have won two of their last three visits, have lost only four of the last thirteen, whilst winning six of the last twelve.
Looking at that team above, loan players Rose, Bentaleb and Lazaro can be ruled out as things stand, some mention amongst the overwhelming transfer speculation that Danny Rose could possibly end up back at Newcastle later in the window. I can’t see it myself.
Martin Dubravka is out for between two and four months with injury, whilst Dwight Gayle reportedly faces a similar time out.
Jonjo Shelvey was nowhere to be seen in the 5-1 friendly hammering at Middlesbrough on Tuesday and also missing from training photos released by the club on Thursday, so looking worryingly like he has picked up another knock / injury.
That leaves Manquillo, Fernandez, Almiron, ASM and Ritchie of the starting eleven against Liverpool, all of who I expect to play a week tomorrow.
Who else though will play in the Newcastle team v West Ham?
Maybe best to start with those who are unlikely to be available as starters.
Joelinton and Muto – Joined in with training for the first time on Thursday, difficult to see either considered to start with just a week of training and one friendly (Stoke on Saturday) at most to prepare.
Fabian Schar trained for the first time yesterday after his operation towards the end of last season and surely won’t be considered, Matty Longstaff the same, he has had a recurrence of a thigh injury and only took part in the first friendly against Crewe and has missed training since.
Paul Dummett and Ciaran Clark haven’t played any competitive football for seven months and whilst they have played in the friendlies, they were both missing from training yesterday and must be very doubtful for the Newcastle team v West Ham, with speculation of new injury problems for the pair.
So what are we left with?
Karl Darlow looks sure to start on goal.
In front of him, Lascelles and Fernandez were first choice last season for Steve Bruce and I expect him to do the same in a back four, despite Lascelles banned tomorrow for the Stoke friendly after a red card v Middlesbrough and only 90 minutes in pre-season friendlies.
In Dummett’s likely absence, I think Bruce will go for Ritchie as an emergency left-back and allow Manquillo to play on the right.
Up front, Andy Carroll is the only logical choice, playing in all three friendlies and claiming he has never felt fitter in his time at Newcastle. No other options as well!
Almiron and ASM will start of course and as per last year expected to provide a spark to the team with very little help from elsewhere, as well as do a lot defensively.
Which leaves three spaces in the team.
Isaac Hayden and Sean Longstaff look certain starters and are the two who have played most minutes in the friendlies so far.
For the final spot, a bit of surprising positivity on Thursday night, as despite it being six months since any competitive football and only a few days of club pre-season, Jeff Hendrick played the full match for Ireland against Bulgaria.
They play Finland on Sunday and assuming he comes out of that ok, I expect him to be in the Newcastle team v West Ham despite only 60 minutes in the friendlies and limited time in training with his new teammates.
I think we all expect a very defensive Steve Bruce outlook as per the vast majority of last season.
With a Newcastle team v West Ham of:
Darlow, Manquillo, Lascelles, Fernandez, Ritchie, Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Hendrick, Almiron, ASM, Carroll
As well as ASM and Almiron expected to create something, I would imagine Hayden staying back and Hendrick and Sean Longstaff expected to as much as possible get forward to support Carroll.
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