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Opinion

Preferred Newcastle team v Leeds with four changes

1 month ago
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When looking at this Newcastle team v Leeds…

Only the fifth Premier League game of the season is upon us and it already looks like Friday night’s  match is a huge one.

Leeds have struggled so far this season as well, only managing one more point than Newcastle, and are very similar to ourselves in terms of shots and goals conceded, soundly beaten by both Man U and Liverpool.

They’re also riddled with injuries and suspension, which has resulted in likely having only one recognised centre back being available for tomorrow’s game.

We have got our own injury issues as well of course, obviously the biggest miss is Wilson, who looks likely to be out for another three games at least. Dubravka, Dummett and Shelvey are also certain to miss out on this one too.

Given this information via Steve Bruce’s pre-match press conference, here is my choice of Newcastle team v Leeds for this must win match.

Goalkeeper- Darlow

This was a tough one, and it does feel a little bad dropping Freddie Woodman, but Karl Darlow has the experience here and if he’s 100% fit then he should be starting.

Darlow had some great performances last season and given the state of our defence so far this season, we’ll need all the experience and skill between the sticks we can get.

Centre backs- Fernandez, Clark and Lascelles

I know everyone is clamouring for us to switch to a back for but Bruce simply isn’t going to do that.

Clark looked decent against Man Utd, with the errors coming from makeshift central defender Hayden and Longstaff’s poor distribution giving the ball away at times, so Fernandez comes in for Hayden.

With potentially a more experienced goalkeeper behind them and an attack not powered by CR7, hopefully they can avoid shipping four goals?

Wing Backs – Lewis and Manquillo

I think Manquillo did well at Old Trafford, showing that it is possible to defend and attack.

I still think Lewis needs to start against more rampant attacking wingers, which Leeds certainly have.

Having Murphy and Ritchie on the bench at least means we have the capability to make some attacking changes (wistful thinking, I know).

Midfield- Hayden, Almiron and Willock

Almiron was definitely our MOTM against Man Utd and if he brings that much energy and willingness to run, to this game, he might well get some joy against a patched up Leeds backline.

Willock shaking off a knock is always a good sign, whilst Hayden adds some steel to a midfield that is otherwise not very defensive, as seen by Bruno Fernandes getting far too much time to line up his wonder goal last time out. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sean Longstaff starts but I think his sloppy passing and control let him down last time.

Attack – ASM and Gayle

ASM is obviously nailed on as a starter, so I don’t even need to discuss that.

When it comes to who partners him, it’s a different story.

Joelinton and Gayle are equally bad replacements for Wilson…one hasn’t had a start in months, the other is a totally different player and clearly can’t play up front on his own.

I would almost have considered starting Fraser as a central striker (a role he’s played for Scotland) but after a recent ankle injury he’s probably more likely to come off the bench tomorrow.

I’ve gone with Gayle because his experience might be able to exploit a reshuffled and leaky Leeds defence, but as I mentioned last week, where’s the striker we can rely on when it comes to the inevitable Wilson injuries throughout this season?

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