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Opinion

Preferred Newcastle team v Watford after injury and fitness update on Friday

3 weeks ago
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A crunch game on Saturday and please find below the suggested Newcastle team v Watford.

Steve Bruce having given an update on Friday regarding injury and fitness within the squad.

My preferred Newcastle team v Watford below, selected in the knowledge that as well as Dubravka, Shelvey and Dummett, Lascelles, Wilson and Willock are also ruled out.

Only six games in and I’m already bored of predicting Bruce’s team choice, mainly because

a) They’re always going to be the same (why change a (not) winning formula!) and

b) the system is fundamentally not right for our players.

Pretty nailed on that Bruce will start the same players he did against Leeds, with the exception of those now injured.

Formation- 4-2-3-1

In an earlier article I summed up why this I thought this was ideal for us, essentially though, it stops our midfield getting flooded and allows Almiron to play his actual number 10 position.

GK – Darlow

Dubravka has just started training again so isn’t ready for this game and Woodman is injured, so Darlow starts.

Full backs – Manquillo and Lewis

A back four means dedicated full backs, not converted wingers, so Manquillo and Lewis are best suited for this, allowing Murphy and Ritchie in particular to focus more on contributing higher up the pitch, if selected.

The defending has clearly been the biggest problem this season, so having full backs who actually know how to defend should go a long way towards fixing that.

Centre backs – Fernandez and Clark

Clark has been pretty decent so far this season and Fernandez I think is our most solid defender in general.

Holding midfielders – Hayden and Longstaff

I would envision Hayden as the defensive/screening player.

Personally, I thought Longstaff was shocking against Leeds, but if it’s the choice of him or Hendrick, he’d be the selection for me.

Attacking midfielders – Ritchie (left), Almiron (centre) and Fraser (right)

The main draw here is Almiron being played much further forward, allowing for far more pressure on the opposing defence, rather than endless runs from 10 yards outside of his own penalty box.

Fraser and Ritchie should be able to provide danger from the flanks but I could also see Murphy potentially in place of Fraser as a straight swap, and potentially Joelinton as an alternative for Ritchie, as he put in a much improved performance against Leeds in this position.

Striker – ASM

Normally I’d have Wilson in this position and ASM in either of the flanking midfield roles, but with Wilson out, the Frenchman goes up top once again.

He’s been our talisman this season and I have no doubt that in any formation or team, he’ll get something against Watford tomorrow.

Of course this is all academic, so I’ll just have to continue hoping that someone steals Brucie’s team sheet and puts mine in instead…

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