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Opinion

Predicted Newcastle team v Chelsea has two changes

4 days ago
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At last, after 15 days without any proper football, only a few hours now before Saturday’s Newcastle team v Chelsea is confirmed.

A long time to brood after that poor display at Southampton, which was a far easier win for the hosts than the 2-0 scoreline suggests.

Even Steve Bruce could do nothing but admit that Newcastle had been totally dominated and deserved nothing from the game.

Steve Bruce spoke about the injury and fitness situation on Friday morning and from what he said, it looks clear that Shelvey, Dummett, Ritchie and Fraser won’t be involved against Chelsea, along with Gayle and Dubravka.

With Callum Wilson it was a more mixed message, with Bruce saying: ‘Callum’s got every chance. He’s trained for the last couple of days and felt extremely comfortable. If there was a risk, we wouldn’t take it at all.’

Whilst with Miguel Almiron the NUFC Head Coach stated: ‘Almiron didn’t get in until 11 last night [Thursday] after being half way around the world. We’ll see how his is this morning. He obviously had to be tested for COVID, and we’ll get the results back this morning. But everything seems to be OK in that respect.’

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 shifting from five at the back for this one, so in front of Darlow I expect to see Lascelles, Fernandez and Schar playing.

At wing-back, Jamal Lewis will be on the left but I fancy Javier Manquillo to come back in on the right. Murphy is better going forward but the Spaniard a better defender, with Chelsea top scorers (20 goals) in the Premier League and having scored three or more goals in six of the eight PL games so far, there might be plenty of defending to be done.

I’m anticipating two changes further up the pitch though.

Miguel Almiron has been deployed as a defensive midfielder in recent games and I can see him being left out today, partly due to his travelling and late return and also with a place needed to be found for Isaac Hayden.

Jeff Hendrick has been really poor but appears to be undroppable in Bruce’s eyes, so a midfield three of Hayden, Hendrick and Sean Longstaff beckons.

Hopefully Allan Saint-Maximin will spark back into life today after a poor to average start to the season, only against Burnley have we seen him somewhere near his best.

For all Steve Bruce’s talk of taking no risks, I very much expect him to play Callum Wilson whatever the risks.

Making the predicted Newcastle team v Chelsea look something like this:

Personally, I wouldn’t be taking any chances with Callum Wilson, as it would be daunting to think of him ending up injured for any length of time and having to rely on the likes of Carroll and / or Joelinton for goals.

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