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Opinion

Predicted Newcastle team v Arsenal has five changes

3 months ago
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Looking ahead to Monday night’s Newcastle team v Arsenal.

Steve Bruce comes into this game on the back of a terrible run of results, no win in the last eight, with six defeats and two draws.

This run including the two cup exits, the second of which was the FA Cup 2-0 defeat to the Gunners nine days ago.

To make matters even worse, in the last ten hours of football, Newcastle have only scored a single goal, Andy Carroll’s late consolation effort against Leicester – his first Premier League goal in 33 months.

We got a fair bit of guidance from the Steve Bruce pre-match press conference, as to which players would and wouldn’t be available for this Newcastle team v Arsenal.

The NUFC Head Coach confirming that Allan Saint-Maximin is back in light training but still some way off returning to first team football.

Steve Bruce also revealing that Federico Fernandez has picked up an injury and is set to miss tonight’s match. Ryan Fraser is also missing, suspended after the two yellows at Sheffield United.

In better news, Bruce is expecting Lascelles and Lewis to be back available for selection, with apparently only the trio above (Fernandez, Fraser, ASM) the only ones definitely missing.

To help give a starting point, this was the 20 man Newcastle United squad that was selected against Sheffield United on Tuesday:

Darlow, Yedlin, Schar, Fernandez, Clark, Dummett, Hayden, Hendrick, Sean Longstaff, Fraser, Wilson (Subs Dubravka, M Longstaff, Carroll, Joelinton, Ritchie, Gayle, Murphy, Almiron, Anderson)

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s embarrassment at Sheffield United, Steve Bruce has responded by calling his players ‘Absolute sh.te’ and ‘Fr.gging useless’, after making it eight without a win, becoming the first Premier League to lose to the Blades in over six months, Chris Wilder’s team also picking up their first clean PL sheet after 20 matches where they have conceded in all.

Bruce also declared that now he would be doing things his way, bizarrely appearing to blame the players for the team selections and tactics that we have been watching / enduring.

Personally, I find this sounding quite ominous. Not only undermining player morale still further BUT the thought of going full-on Brucey tactics will be cheering up no Newcastle fan.

I see two things when it comes to team selection for sure, Steve Bruce going to a back four and in general, selecting players who he sees as his most solid and reliable.

Karl Darlow should stay in goal, as he did everything he could at Sheffield United, only the spot-kick beating him.

Whilst with Fernandez injured, it looks odds on that assuming he is fit enough to do so, Lascelles will return alongside Ciaran Clark at centre-back. Fabian Schar has been decent recently but definitely not one of Bruce’s favourites, the Head Coach definitely showing a preference for no nonsense non-footballing central defenders.

The one concession to a bit of mobility in tonight’s team, as well as Callum Wilson of course, will be at full-back I think.

Yedlin keeping his place on the right, with Jamal Lewis set to return on the left, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Dummett stayed in.

In midfield we are definitely getting into playing for a 0-0, with solid players in Steve Bruce’s eyes to help make that happen.

Hayden and Shelvey are Bruce’s usual preference in the middle and I think they will be reunited.

Whilst Matt Ritchie and Jeff Hendrick as ‘wingers’ are set to complete the predicted midfield four.

Callum Wilson will of course continue to plough his lonely furrow up front and I see another Steve Bruce favourite as his main support, with Joelinton back in the side.

Bruce believing perspiration from those most loyal to him and not inspiration from elsewhere in the squad, can dig him out of trouble.

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

Steve Bruce will be desperate to avoid defeat tonight at the Emirates, especially with Villa away, Leeds home and Everton away to follow.

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