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Opinion

Predicted Newcastle team v Leicester has three changes

1 month ago
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Looking ahead to this tonight’s Newcastle team v Leicester.

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

However, if Bruce can make it five wins in twenty six tonight, it would make Newcastle all but mathematically safe from relegation, as they would be 12 points clear of Fulham with Scott Parker’s team having only four games to play.

For Leicester, it is very different targets to aim for.

The ambitious club are set to play Chelsea in the FA Cup final and ideally would like to confirm their Champions League place for next season before they go to Wembley in eight days time.

A win tonight would strengthen Leicester’s current third place position and put them eight points clear of West Ham who are fifth.

Ahead of Friday’s match, Steve Bruce gave an update on Thursday on the injury and fitness front.

The Head Coach revealing that six Newcastle players miss this match at Leicester.

Longer-term injured Karl Darlow, Ryan Fraser, Isaac Hayden and Jamaal Lascelles are now joined by Elliot Anderson in the treatment room.

In addition, having failed with his appeal, Fabian Schar now starts a three game ban after his red card against Arsenal.

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

Dubravka, Murphy, Fernandez, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Sean Longstaff, Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Wilson (Subs: Mark Gillespie, Emil Krafth, Fabian Schar, Jamal Lewis, Matty Longstaff, Jeff Hendrick, Elliot Anderson, Joelinton, Dwight Gayle)

So which Newcastle United team will Steve Bruce pick tonight against Leicester?

Dubravka will start of course but what about those in front of him?

My guesstimate is that we will see a return to four at the back after the poor showing against Arsenal. Playing the five at the back would just encourage Leicester to press higher and I also think more pace is needed out wide in defence as Leicester are very good at getting their full-backs forward in support.

I think Steve Bruce will have Fernandez and Clark in the middle but bring Manquillo and Lewis back in as full-backs, with Murphy and Dummett dropping out.

I fancy Ritchie to keep his place but in a four man midfield, with Bruce keeping Sean Longstaff and golden buy Jonjo Shelvey in, plus giving Joe Willock a rare start.

It is seven weeks since the Arsenal loan player started a game and with only four matches left, if there is any intention of trying to sign Willock in the summer, then surely he has to be given games and be able to feel valued.

I can see Miguel Almiron being dropped to accommodate Willock, Steve Bruce appears clueless in how to try and get the best out of the Paraguayan, so I think he will be the scapegoat.

Callum Wilson set to start up front, with Allan Saint-Maximin more of a free role behind him.

So the three changes for Steve Bruce in my opinion.

Giving this predicted Newcastle team v Leicester:

Dubravka, Manquillo, Fernandez, Clark, Lewis, Ritchie, Shelvey, Sean Longstaff, Willock, Saint-Maximin, Wilson

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