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Predicted Newcastle United team v Manchester United has these two changes

4 days ago
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Looking ahead to Sunday night’s Newcastle United team v Manchester United.

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

Eleven defeats and two draws, with the latest loss coming via a tame display at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea completely dominating the first half and they had the victory sewn up by the halfway point with a couple of goals.

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 United team v Manchester United.

Steve Bruce saying that Federico Fernandez is back in training but no chance of playing on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the NUFC Head Coach indicating that he understands he has to be wary of playing Paul Dummett and Dwight Gayle too much, due to how little football they have played.

Then Steve Bruce saying the one bit of good news with the three long-term injuries is that Manquillo has responded well to treatment, whilst patience is the word with both Wilson and Schar in their recovery.

Jeff Hendrick is available once again after serving a one game suspension at Chelsea, I take it there will be plenty of you pondering on whether this is positive or negative news…

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

Darlow, Krafth, Lascelles, Clark, Lewis, Willock, Hayden, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin, Almiron, Gayle (and the subs – Dubravka, Dummett, Matty Longstaff, Carroll, Joelinton, Ritchie, Fraser, Murphy, Sean Longstaff)

I was convinced that Martin Dubravka surely had to come back into the team sooner rather than later, as he is our best goalkeeper.

Karl Darlow has done ok 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 three PL clubs have conceded more than Newcastle.

However, Steve Bruce ahead of this game was asked about the goalkeeping situation and very much made clear that as things stand Darlow is first choice and will be for the foreseeable. So obviously Karl Darlow to start at Old Trafford and indeed, with Bruce apparently painting himself into a corner with his comments, unless he makes very obvious mistakes in the remaining 14 matches, Dubravka stays on the bench.

As well as committing to Darlow staying in goal, I think it looks like Steve Bruce has done the same with retaining a back four for the remainder of the season.

If indeed he doesn’t change to a back five, it then very much limits who could be possibles.

Emil Krafth is really poor but is the only available right-back, with Manquillo injured and Yedlin bizarrely given away in the middle of a relegation battle. Jacob Murphy and possibly one or two others could play as a right wing-back but not right-back.

On the left a similar story with Jamal Lewis set to stay in the team despite struggling at Chelsea, though not as badly as Krafth did. Ritchie could play left wing-back but not as a left-back. Paul Dummett I could see doing ok as a third centre-back maybe but would be a bit exposed as a left-back with Steve Bruce indicating he is struggling to get and stay fully fit.

With Schar and Fernandez still out, Lascelles and Clark will continue in the middle of the defence, although United desperately need the NUFC Captain to bounce back into better form than he showed at Chelsea.

I’m guessing Steve Bruce will be keen to keep the same midfield trio, though how Shelvey gets in the team is a mystery to me.

He is set to play alongside Willock and Hayden.

I know there isn’t a great choice but Shelvey’s poor workrate and absence of any pace makes it easy for the opposition so much of the time.

Amazingly, despite being second top of the table, only four PL clubs, including Newcastle United (21), have conceded more goals at home than the 18 Man Utd have leaked at Old Trafford.

Combining that information and the fact Man Utd’s game ended in Turin on Thursday less than 72 hours before Sunday night’s 7pm kick-off, I would suggest Newcastle’s best chance of getting a result is to have a real go.

I would leave out Shelvey and play Willock and Hayden, plus Gayle, Fraser, ASM and Almiron. Sadly though, I see Shelvey definitely starting and indeed only two of that quartet in the team.

I believe Steve Bruce will largely change things just for the sake of it in the attacking half, with Fraser and Joelinton set to come in, with Gayle and probably ASM dropping to the bench.

Not my idea of fun but I think the Head Coach will see this simply as another game he will lose and want to keep other players interested by giving them a game.

I assume it will be against Wolves at home next weekend that Steve Bruce will be targeting to have what he considers his strongest eleven out, for what he’ll see as a more winnable game. If Fulham beat Sheffield United and Crystal Palace, many fans and neutrals could see that Wolves clash as pretty close to a must win match if NUFC want to have a chance of avoiding a close call with relegation.

Making the predicted Newcastle United team v Manchester United look something like this:

Steve Bruce would undoubtedly take a 0-0 if offered in advance but reality is that this has all the hallmarks of a straightforward home win. This despite Man Utd only winning five of twelve PL home games this season, plus the last two games before they won 4-0 on Thursday against Real Sociedad in Turin, saw the Mancs need extra time to score and win 1-0 at Old Trafford in the FA Cup against West Ham and draw 1-1 away at West Brom.

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