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Predicted Newcastle team v West Ham has only the one change

2 weeks ago
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Looking ahead to Saturday’s Newcastle team v West Ham.

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

Thirteen defeats and six draws…but Allan Saint-Maximin rescuing Steve Bruce last Sunday.

A woeful showing from Bruce and his players was turned around by ASM, the French winger coming on in the 57th minute and within another seven minutes, a 1-0 defeat had become a 2-1 victory. ASM creating a goal and then scoring the winner himself.

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 West Ham.

Steve Bruce delivered the news on injury, fitness and potential availability of the Newcastle United players for this match.

Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schar and Isaac Hayden are on the long-term injured list.

Bruce saying that Ryan Fraser is another ruled out, currently carrying a groin injury.

The NUFC Head Coach indicating that there were no new injuries to report.

As for Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson, Steve Bruce said that they had both trained all this past week after sub appearances against Burnley. However, he then added that he still had a decision to make on whether to consider them for the starting eleven on Saturday.

Steve Bruce saying that with players such as Wilson and ASM whose games were all about pace and power, he had to decide whether it was too much of a risk whether to play them from the start against West Ham, especially with them having recovered from muscle injuries.

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

Dubravka, Murphy, Fernandez, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Sean Longstaff, Almiron, Gayle, Joelinton (Subs: Darlow, Carroll, Saint-Maximin, Wilson, Lewis, Hendrick, Krafth, Manquillo, Willock)

So which Newcastle United team will Steve Bruce pick this afternoon against Burnley?

Dubravka will start of course, the keeper in great form having kept Newcastle in the game until ASM’s rescue at Burnley.

Steve Bruce has repeatedly struggled to come up with the right team selections and tactics this season. One of the worst was after the opening day of the season when following the 2-0 win at West Ham, Bruce kept his approach the same and Andy Carroll in the team. A harsh lesson as Brighton then battered Newcastle at St James Park, Steve Bruce lucky to lose only 3-0. Almiron came on for Carroll at the halfway point but already two goals down the damage was done.

Steve Bruce admitted afterwards he’d got the selection wrong, so what will he do this time?

Personally, I think he will bottle it, changes that should be made, won’t be. I think a need to change to a back four and players such as Manquillo, Lewis and Willock to come into the picture, regardless of whether ASM and / or Wilson can start.

I think Steve Bruce will keep the back five and still have Dummett, Fernandez and Clark there as his three centre-backs, with Ritchie and Murphy as wing-backs.

Joe Willock alongside Sean Longstaff would be interesting and give much needed legs in the middle of the pitch to the team BUT Bruce’s favourite Jonjo Shelvey will no doubt start yet again.

Sean Longstaff has done ok and no reason why he should be replaced by Willock, which is how I’m thinking Bruce will see it.

When it comes to the front three, so much of course rests on whether Steve Bruce considers ASM and / or Wilson as starters.

I think Allan Saint-Maximin will be seen as ready to do so and take a place in the team, though I reckon it will be from the bench that we will eventually see Callum Wilson later in the game.

With Miguel Almiron surely an automatic choice for even Steve Bruce, will it be Gayle or Joelinton to drop out to make way for ASM?

I would definitely choose Gayle from that pair but just like with Shelvey, I have little doubt that Steve Bruce will persevere with Joelinton, despite a really poor showing at Burnley. Gayle not really delivering either BUT he is getting into goalscoring positions, not something you can often accuse the Brazilian of doing.

So only the one change for Steve Bruce in my opinion.

Giving this predicted Newcastle team v West Ham:

Dubravka, Manquillo, Fernandez, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Sean Longstaff, Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Joelinton

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