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Opinion

The Newcastle team v Brighton that Steve Bruce should pick (but definitely won’t)

4 months ago
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This below is what I think the Newcastle team v Brighton should be on Saturday.

However, I see minimal chance of it happening, indeed, definitely not would be closer to the mark.

Fulham play Leeds tonight and most  Newcastle fans will have one eye on the score (if they can bear to that is).

With Saturday’s game looking ever more important in the relegation struggle, here’s how I believe the Newcastle team v Brighton should line up tomorrow against the Seagulls.

Goalkeeper- Martin Dubravka

Yes Darlow has been must better than most would have expected.

However, Dubravka is far more reliable and commands his box with extra authority. Easy choice for me.

Right Back- Javier Manquillo

Another easy choice, Manquillo offers far more going forward than Krafth and is a lot more consistent in his performances.

Centre Backs- Jamal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark

While Fernandez is also a solid defender and could slot in easily, I see no reason to break up this pairing.

Clark has been solid since coming into the side, with the unfortunate own goal something he could do nothing about really, while at the moment Lascelles is our biggest goal threat. The less said about that the better…

Left Back – Paul Dummett

The self-confessed “Ronseal defender”, Dummett is remarkably solid at the back, and even put together a few good attacking crosses against Villa last time out.

Lewis is a better attacker, but he’s been caught out a lot defensively and with our goal output so low, being solid defensively is a priority.

Midfield – Isaac Hayden, Sean Longstaff and Joe Willock

Hayden is a starter whenever he’s fit, probably one of our most consistent players, another no brainer for me.

Willock also put in a good shift against Villa, offered the occasional supporting run forward, something he needs to do more often tomorrow.

I very much doubt this will happen but after the poor run of form Shelvey has had, I think one of the Longstaffs deserves another start, if only to show we don’t have to tolerate misguided attempts at passes and lacklustre work rates for a player who should be so much better.

By swapping Sean Longstaff in, while losing the ability to (erratically) play a great ball, we gain another driving runner and a presence in the box, something that was sorely lacking last time out.

Attack – Jacob Murphy, Ryan Fraser and Joelinton

Murphy brought so much more attacking intent to the game against Villa and with a bit of luck it might well have been 2-1, with a goal and assist to his name.

Starting him may well give Murphy a chance to showcase his dribbling and positivity from the get-go.

Joelinton had a great game against Villa and should get the chance to replicate his performance again tomorrow, maybe his decision making in the final third will sharpen up this time though!

The final spot was trickiest for me.

Fraser had a decent game so I kept him in my 11, but if Gayle is put in a central position to better utilise his penalty box instincts, rather than being shoved out on the wing as a split striker, I wouldn’t be disappointed.

As for the news about Almiron’s fitness, I think it would be a mistake to throw him back into the starting line-up in desperation.

A substitute appearance (of more than 10 minutes please Steve) in the withdrawn striker role for Fraser / Gayle would be ideal, then he’ll have the full international break to come back fully fit.

Of course this is all completely academic and I fully expect Bruce to line up exactly the same way as we did against Villa, then scrape a lucky point despite being completely outplayed and claim it was what we needed all along.

We can but hope things might change.

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