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Opinion

Predicted Newcastle team v Chelsea has these five changes

7 months ago
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Looking ahead to Monday night’s Newcastle team v Chelsea.

Steve Bruce comes into this game on the back of a fourteen game run with only two victories.

Ten defeats and two draws, though clinging on against Southampton meant it has been two wins in the last three games, ahead of the visit to Stamford Bridge.

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 Chelsea.

The NUFC Head Coach confirming that Javier Manquillo, Callum Wilson and Fabian Schar will miss Monday night and indeed all three are expected to be unavailable for at least a couple of months after picking up injuries against Southampton.

Jeff Hendrick is another who won’t be playing against Chelsea, suspended after his red card last weekend.

However, Steve Bruce did state that Ciaran Clark will definitely be available, having missed Southampton after his partner went into labour ahead of the game.

Meanwhile, the NUFC Head Coach described Jamaal Lascelles and Federico Fernandez as ‘touch and go’ after they returned to training. As it stands, Lascelles has been out of action for two weeks and Fernandez for five weeks.

To help give a starting point, this was the 20 man Newcastle United squad that was selected against Southampton last weekend:

Darlow, Manquillo, Hayden, Schar, Lewis, Willock, Hendrick, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin, Almiron, Wilson (and the subs – Dubravka, Dummett, Carroll, Joelinton, Ritchie, Gayle, Krafth, Fraser, Anderson)

So we are guaranteed at least four changes from that team that started against Southampton.

The first change I believe is going to be in goal.

Martin Dubravka surely has to come back into the team sooner rather than later, as he is our best goalkeeper.

Karl Darlow has done well in his absence but I have a feeling he is now letting in some goals that he wouldn’t have done earlier in the season, only Palace and West Brom have conceded more goals this season and time for Dubravka I think.

Major changes set for the back I think.

My money is on Hayden to return to midfield whilst Manquillo and Schar are injured of course.

Jamal Lewis had one of his better games against Southampton and will stay at left-back, though I think the other three of the back four will change.

Ciaran Clark back in at centre-back and he has only been out for less than two weeks, after getting injured at Everton, so I think Jamaal Lascelles should be ok to partner Clark.

At right-back, the ridiculous decision by Mike Ashley to give Yedlin away last month to save on five months wages, is already beginning to bite. Manquillo injured means we are set to start with Krafth on Monday night, so a major weakness there I feel.

As I said above, Hayden is set to return to midfield and Willock can hopefully build on his decent debut, Bruce set to keep Shelvey in as well, although he wouldn’t get a place in my team.

Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron did well against Southampton, ASM creating two and Almiron scoring twice, the only question is who they will play in support of.

I think it is obvious that Dwight Gayle should replace Wilson and Newcastle try to keep as much mobility and closing down as possible in the opposition half. However, reality is that Steve Bruce has only started Gayle in 10 of 61 Premier League matches and none at all this season, so I fully expect Joelinton will get the nod.

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

Steve Bruce will see anything other than defeat as a bonus on Monday night and with Chelsea guaranteed to go into the top four with a victory, this could be a long night. However, Chelsea aren’t an outstanding side and if Newcastle can find a goal from somewhere…the blues have only scored six goals in the five matches since Thomas Tuchel took over.

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