Newcastle team v Chelsea now looking set to be along these lines due to missing players
Saturday morning we will see the Newcastle team v Chelsea confirmed.
A 15 day international break since that poor display at Southampton, a far easier win for the hosts than the 2-0 scoreline suggests.
Even Steve Bruce had no alternative but to admit that Newcastle had been dominated and deserved nothing from the game.
The NUFC Head Coach also stated that the performance on the south coast meant there were now a number of shirts up for grabs when Newcastle take on Chelsea in this next match.
However, with a number of players looking set to miss Saturday’s game, maybe not so many options for changing the starting eleven.
This is a fixture where Newcastle have an excellent recent record, the last seven meetings at St James Park seeing five NUFC wins, one draw and only one Chelsea victory.
Matt Ritchie is now back in training as he recovers from his shoulder operation but surely won’t be risked, even if getting towards a decent level of fitness. The NUFC reserve (Under 21) side played at Bolton on Tuesday night and the only overage player taking part was Achraf Lazaar, If the likes of Ritchie was by chance a possibility for the Newcastle team v Chelsea, you would have thought he’d have got a run out.
Dwight Gayle and Ryan Fraser were pictured at the training ground last week but are working on their own away from the main group.
Also out injured and set to miss are Martin Dubravka, Callum Wilson and Jonjo Shelvey.
Added to that list is Paul Dummett now, the Chronicle reporting this week that he now has a hamstring injury, further extending his time out of the team, last playing in the Premier League in January 2020.
Making it eight Newcastle players set to be unavailable to start this weekend looks to be Miguel Almiron. It was anticipated that he would travel back to Tyneside to train this week and ensure he could play against Chelsea, once a booking last week meant he was suspended for Paraguay’s game against Bolivia. However, he has stayed out in Paraguay and was pictured in the stands in the early hours of this (Wednesday) morning (UK time) watching on as his international teammates played out a 2-2 draw.
Steve Bruce said the travel and late return was why he left Almiron out against Man Utd last month after the previous international break, so with this Chelsea match being a Saturday lunchtime game, it surely means it will be a place on the bench at most.
So what does that leave?
The Newcastle team and subs v Southampton were:
Darlow, Schar, Lascelles, Fernandez, Lewis, Hendrick, Sean Longstaff, Murphy, Saint-Maximin, Wilson, Almiron (Gillespie, Joelinton, Carroll, Manquillo, Hayden, Clark, Matty Longstaff)
Difficult to see Steve Bruce ditching his ultra negative tactics for this one, even though those same tactics failed so miserably at Southampton.
A shame really as whilst Chelsea are top scorers in the Premier League with 20 goals, they have still conceded 10 in the eight games, with defence looking their biggest weakness.
In front of Karl Darlow, I anticipate the back three centre-backs of Schar, Fernandez and Lascelles continuing, one good thing about the international break was that in the end Schar only played once. Suspended for one match and then Tuesday’s cancelled due to virus cases in the Ukraine squad.
Jamal Lewis is likely to play for Northern Ireland tonight but assuming no injuries, I expect he and Jacob Murphy to continue as wing-backs.
I’m anticipating two changes further up the pitch with Wilson and Almiron set to drop out.
Hayden coming in to form a midfield three with Hendrick and Sean Longstaff, whilst Allan Saint-Maximin set to be the player closest to what is likely to be a very isolated Joelinton, as the Brazilian is set to get a rare game up front. He has only started three of the last twelve Premier League matches.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]