With 3 of best 5 Newcastle United players missing, is there any hope at Old Trafford?
If the full squad of Newcastle United players were available, no neutral would give United any kind of a chance against Man Utd on Saturday.
The expectation obviously is that Steve Bruce will have his team roll over at Old Trafford.
Newcastle United players simply bystanders as Ronaldo scores his hat-trick in a right hammering, then the NUFC players forming a guard of honour as the Portuguese 36 year old leaves the pitch.
Steve Bruce struggling not to show off a massive smile as the team he loves potentially moves top of the table, whilst Newcastle United drop into the bottom three.
As if this game doesn’t look daunting enough, we had a training update on Thursday.
There were 20 Newcastle United players that could be seen training in the official club images but six missing.
Mark Gillespie, Jonjo Shelvey, Paul Dummett, Callum Wilson, Martin Dubrabka and Ryan Fraser.
Gillespie is number four keeper so not really a factor, Jonjo Shelvey I am more than happy to see missing, whilst Paul Dummett is injured the vast majority of the time and anyway, I think there is pretty much nothing to choose between the five options (not Krafth!) at centre-back.
However, I don’t think outsiders will register just how extra difficult this Man Utd match will be with the other players set to miss.
Martin Dubravka is an exceptional keeper and no idea when he will be back, Callum Wilson is our only goalscoring striker…indeed any kind of a real centre forward threat. Missing from training yesterday, the club say that Steve Bruce will give us an update on the number nine today. This is not going to be good.
Whilst Miguel Almiron is suspended after Newcastle didn’t release him to play for Paraguay.
That is three of Newcastle’s best five players missing, with only Willock and ASM available, hopefully!
Man Utd are just going to double up on ASM, Bruce will play a totally isolated Joelinton in place of Wilson, whilst it is also going to be a massive miss not having Almiron’s workrate and attitude in what is going to a long long 90 minutes. Miggy has been woefully treated by Steve Bruce but even played as an extra defender he will be so badly missed.
As for Ryan Fraser, I don’t think he is the best but at least he has shown some spark and has managed to cross a ball, which means he will also be missed as a possible alternative from the bench.
This is even before we get to the massive liability that is Steve Bruce…
With a proper manager and Dubravka, Almiron, ASM, Wilson and Willock on the pitch, who knows?
With Steve Bruce, I don’t think it would matter which 11 (or more!) of this NUFC squad played, the outcome would be the same.
In one way I would love to know what Brucey’s cunning plan is this time but on the other hand, maybe ignorance is bliss and I will just hope that tomorrow at Old Trafford ends up not quite as embarrassing as I fear it is going to be.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]