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Opinion

Predicted Newcastle team v Leicester has two changes

3 weeks ago
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Looking ahead to Sunday afternoon’s Newcastle team v Leicester.

Steve Bruce comes into this game on the back of a spirited performance by his players, as they picked up a point against Liverpool.

However, in over six and a half hours of football, Newcastle have only scored a single goal and that came from the penalty spot against Fulham at home.

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 Leicester.

The NUFC Head Coach confirming that Ryan Fraser, Allan Saint-Maximin and Jamaal Lascelles won’t be involved on Sunday.

When asked if any players at all would return after having been ruled out for Liverpool with illness or injury, Steve Bruce said no. Which would appear to also rule out the likes of Manquillo and Dummett, as well. Although in the past Steve Bruce has on occasion said one thing but then reality has been something quite different in terms of player availability.

Taking Bruce at his word though, it would appear that the 11 to play against Leicester will come from the 20 man Newcastle United squad that was selected against Liverpool on Wednesday night:

Darlow, Yedlin, Schar, Fernandez, Clark, Ritchie, Hayden, Matty Longstaff, Murphy, Joelinton, Wilson (Subs Dubravka, Carroll, Shelvey, Gayle, Lewis, Hendrick, Krafth, Almiron, Sean Longstaff)

The options actually decrease by one more, as Isaac Hayden is now suspended after picking up his latest booking against Liverpool, so at least one enforced change to be made.

Karl Darlow will continue in goal, with next Saturday against Arsenal in the FA Cup surely when we will see Martin Dubravka getting his first start of the season.

Then Schar, Fernandez and Clark will play in front of Darlow, having helped play a pivotal role in keeping the clean sheet against Liverpool (I’m very much taking for granted that Steve Bruce won’t stray from five at the back on Sunday).

At left wing-back, Jamal Lewis has been rested and taken out of the firing line in the last three PL matches. Leicester have a lot of pace, so he could well be recalled to help deal with that, but Ritchie has done ok in those last three PL games and I think he will continue there.

DeAndre Yedlin has came back in and played four games in an 11 day stretch after no starts since September, so I think a big risk of injury if playing him again. I fancy Jacob Murphy to drop back and play right wing-back.

Matty Longstaff has done more than enough to stay in the team and has looked far more mobile than any of our other central midfielders this season. It looks like Jonjo Shelvey will step in here, with Hayden suspended.

Callum Wilson to start up front but which two to have the main roles of supporting him?

Whilst very few, if any, fans would be selecting Joelinton, I think Steve Bruce will keep him in, despite a pretty anonymous typically non-goal threatening display against Liverpool.

I also think a return for Jeff Hendrick on Sunday is on the cards, with Steve Bruce playing three central midfielders and not bringing Miguel Almiron back in. If I’m correct, I see instead Matty Longstaff given more license to get forward and try and help create something for Callum Wilson.

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

After three defeats to Leicester last season, including 5-0 and 3-0 hammerings in the Premier League, Steve Bruce will be desperate to see a better display on Sunday and hopefully at least a point. However, Newcastle have to find a way to create at least a half decent number of chances, as Callum Wilson can’t do it all on his own.

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