Preferred Newcastle team v Manchester City tonight
Safety was confirmed for Newcastle United on Monday, after a sorry Fulham failed to muster any sort of fightback against Burnley.
However, that doesn’t mean NUFC should rest easy, as we could finish as high as 12th if the stars align…
This would allow for a fair wodge of bonus cash that could be invaluable with anticipated Mike Ashley tighten the purse strings level of transfer activity likely in the summer.
With that in mind, here’s my preferred Newcastle team v Manchester City for tonight:
Same as normal.
With Darlow out and Gillespie a clear back up, Dubravka easily makes the starting 11. He’ll certainly need to pull out one of his best performances to keep us in this match.
Centre backs: Clark, Fernandez and Dummett
As normal for me.
I know Krafth had a decent game against Leicester but he still makes me nervous when he’s in the back three, so Clark comes in for him.
Dummett and Fernandez have been solid so no need to drop them in my opinion…and with Lascelles still injured and Schar suspended, not exactly blessed with options anyway.
Wing backs: Ritchie and Murphy
Again, I see no need to change this up.
Murphy’s defensive work has been improving steadily Bruce switched to this formation and he can offer some creativity going forward, that Manquillo (or Gods forbid, Krafth) wouldn’t bring if switched out.
Ritchie has been one of the stand out performers since Bruce swallowed his pride and let him back in the team, his delivery and work rate really shining.
Dummett is in no way a wing back, and Lewis doesn’t have the delivery of Ritchie just yet, so all the same for me.
Midfield: Sean Longstaff, Matty Longstaff and Willock
I think Willock starting is a no brainer, he brings boundless energy to the midfield and can apparently score against anyone.
I’ve put both Longstaffs in to add energy and a bit of steel to the midfield, no passengers allowed in this game (naming no names).
In a completely different train of thought…with Shelvey gone, we’d be needing someone else to wear the captain’s armband and I think it should (even when Shelvey’s on the pitch to be honest) go to Dummett. He’s a great example of hard work and no nonsense displays to benefit the team as a whole. I’d also be happy to see it go to Ritchie or Fernandez for the same reasons.
I’ve moved Almiron further forward, as I’ll explain in the next section.
Hayden is still out injured and Hendrick is still saddled with the incurable malady of being terminally uninspiring.
Forwards: ASM and Almiron
I think ASM needs to start this game, as he will be our out ball and can use his creativity and electric skills to bring us into the game at points. No-brainer.
To replace Wilson though, was a bit trickier.
Ideally we want someone who can replicate Wilson’s runs into the channels and high pressing, who do we know that presses everywhere on the pitch…Almiron.
Definitely not a traditional strike partnership but if they play fluidly off each other and keep the City defence guessing, they might just work.
Gayle doesn’t have the skill or stamina to play in the same way as Wilson for 90 minutes, though I could see him coming on as a sub, as a poacher / late runner. I don’t think Carroll would be able to last 45 minutes against City, never mind a full game, and while Joelinton could potentially be a hold-up man alongside ASM, I went for the more interesting option.
Obviously I know that Brucey WILL pick the same starting 11 as Leicester, just swapping Joelinton for Wilson, because why would he make a change unless there’s no other option?
Those are my thoughts above though and still available in a consultancy role Steve, if you’re asking…
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]