The predicted Newcastle team v Burnley – Seven changes
Interesting to see what the Newcastle team v Burnley will be on Saturday night.
After only two Premier League wins at St James Park since before Christmas 2019, Newcastle fans could do with some early festive cheer tonight.
That ‘interesting’ penalty decision against Tottenham, brought to an end over three hours of Premier League football without an effort on goal for Newcastle United.
Ahead of this Burnley game, Steve Bruce went on the offensive.
The NUFC Head Coach saying that he couldn’t understand how anybody could fail to see clearly what he is trying to do.
Apparently, according to Steve Bruce, he is playing two up front, getting Newcastle United to play more attacking football and shifting from a back five to a back four.
Strangely, ‘some’ Newcastle supporters had assumed the orders were for all the players to stay as close to their own goal as possible, with any ventures over the halfway line kept to an absolute minimum.
Steve Bruce says he needs more time before he can get his all out attack, on the front foot, plan working at 100%.
I’m not sure any of us will still be around by the time that actually happens.
So what about team selection tonight?
Well the players we definitely know won’t be playing are Martin Dubravka, Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie, Ciaran Clark, Paul Dummett and Matty Longstaff.
Fabian Schar definitely is back and available to start, the head coach confirmed, whilst Allan Saint-Maximin has trained all week and should be fine as well according to Steve Bruce.
However, Bruce revealed that both Jamaal Lascelles (hamstring) and Emil Krafth (hip) now have injuries and are very doubtful. Further reports elsewhere claimed that they are both ruled out for tonight.
On that basis…
Darlow in goal once again after his one man show at Tottenham.
Then Manquillo and Lewis as full-backs.
If indeed Lascelles is missing, then Schar is the obvious, only, one to come in alongside Fernandez.
With Burnley normally playing two up front and very physical, I wouldn’t be amazed if Isaac Hayden is yet again played as an emergency third centre-back. Especially with Ashley Barnes also now back fit and playing.
Hayden will play one way or another and despite his shocking performance and lack of effort to run around at all and try to make things happen (until the 87th minute) at Newport, no doubt Jonjo Shelvey will keep his place.
After the promise of his debut at West Ham, Jeff Hendrick has been really poor and anonymous in the last two Premier League games, however, I expect Bruce to persevere with him.
Callum Wilson will start up front, which then would appear to mean two from five with Almiron, ASM, Carroll, Fraser and Joelinton.
You think surely Steve Bruce can’t select Carroll again from the start but sadly I don’t think you can ever totally rule it out. However, I’m assuming that after jogging around for most of Wednesday’s match, Andy Carroll won’t be starting tonight.
Fraser is still working his way to full fitness and didn’t do anything at Newport to suggest he should be pushing for a Premier League start anyway.
Steve Bruce is always desperate to play Joelinton (whether under orders from Mike Ashley, who knows?) and I think he will start against Burnley. He actually has done relatively ok these last two matches as a sub, well compared to many teammates, though still manages to be no threat to the opposition goal, even in Wednesday’s penalty shoot-out.
This then leaves a choice of ASM or Almiron.
Steve Bruce felt it was an easy option to drop Almiron for the first two Premier League matches of the season and I’m guessing he will do so again. The Paraguayan not letting his head drop and still giving it his all when coming off the bench. How long that might last, who knows? Especially with the negative football Steve Bruce insists on playing.
Last season the ‘plan’ to try and create chances and score goals appeared to be pretty much limited to give ASM the ball and hope he can do something.
With still no other obvious attacking plan apparent in recent matches, you can only assume Bruce will be desperate to play ASM if at all possible, hoping he can bounce back to form and be the attacking plan.
That gives us a predicted Newcastle team v Burnley of:
Darlow, Manquillo, Schar, Fernandez, Lewis, Hayden, Shelvey, Hendrick, ASM, Joelinton, Wilson
That line-up would represent seven changes from the team that started against Newport County but actually only three different to the ten outfield players who finished Wednesday’s match, after Wilson, Schar and Joelinton had came off the bench.
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