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My preferred Newcastle team v Crystal Palace with three changes to get first win of the season

1 month ago
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Looking at this Newcastle team v Crystal Palace.

What a massive match.

After a disastrous start to the season, no wins in the first nine games, out of the League Cup and second bottom of the Premier League…at very long last we can now move forward without Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce!

Still no guarantee of winning of course but at least you feel far far better about everything now, finally able to look forward and not simply dragging 14+ years of Mike Ashley behind you.

So can we get this first win of the season at Crystal Palace under the temporary charge of Graeme Jones?

Palace have had a strange start to the season, drawing five of their last seven PL games, with just the one win against Spurs.

Very interesting to see what Newcastle team v Crystal Palace that Graeme Jones will go for…but in advance I’ve put together my idea of what side could start us on an upturn.

As a starting point…

This was the Newcastle team v Crystal Palace:

Darlow, Manquillo, Lascelles, Clark, Ritchie, Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Willock, Saint-Maximin, Joelinton, Wilson

An update from Graeme Jones on Friday indicated that pretty much most of the squad will be available. The exceptions being Dubravka, Anderson and Dummett through injury / fitness issues, whilst Shelvey is suspended after his ridiculously stupid red card against Spurs.

With Dubravka ruled out, Darlow is an automatic choice. Needs to step it up as could have done better for a number of goals since his return, including that Kane goal last Sunday when rushed off his line and made it easy for the Tottenham striker.

Manquillo sticks at it and showed with his assist for Wilson’s goal six days ago that he can contribute as well going forward. One of our weakest positions in the team with Murphy and Krafth poor alternatives.

Assuming Graeme Jones keeps it with four at the back and if so, Jamal Lewis has to surely get a try at left-back. Bruce totally froze him out and not a single PL start in eight months, but with Ritchie struggling so badly when it comes to defending, Lewis has to play with Dummett unavailable still.

Lascelles was terrible last week and hopefully a series of training sessions and conversations not involving Bruce have helped clear his head a bit. His distribution is never going to be great but he is what he is.

With Benteke up front for Palace it is yet another reason for Fernandez to come back in, Palace also threaten at set-pieces so playing both Lascelles and Fernandez makes sense to me.

Hopefully we will see Graeme Jones tightening up the middle of the pitch and stopping Palace’s better players on the ball running direct at the heart of our defence, as the central defensive pair certainly won’t fancy that.

I think we are looking at a far better tactical approach hopefully today, PLUS all players to step up on what they showed against Tottenham.

Better quality for sure is needed longer term in the middle of the pitch but Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden have indicated in the past that they had the makings of a partnership.

Hopefully today will see them find the spark together that they showed together briefly under Rafa Benitez before injury struck for Longstaff.

Callum Wilson with a quality finish last week and every confidence that if NUFC can create a few similar opportunities we could be in business. The centre-forward should also be a lot closer to full fitness with that run out and another week of training.

As has been pointed out, Newcastle do have the makings of a very decent attack, potentially.

Almiron surely will come in, for both his workrate and attacking potential, which was so suffocated under Bruce. Joelinton has to be the one to drop out, does little bits in non-threatening areas but absolutely no threat where it matters. Six goals in 77 PL appearances is woeful no matter how much he cost and wherever he plays in the attacking half of the pitch.

With ASM and Willock keeping their places, I just hope that along with Wilson and Almiron, we can see this quartet further up the pitch and creating more chances and hopefully that leading to more goals.

As for defending, that is a whole team responsibility and today would be ideal to get the first Premier League clean sheet of the season.

My Newcastle team v Crystal Palace:

Darlow, Manquillo, Fernandez, Lascelles, Lewis, Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Willock, Saint-Maximin, Almiron, Wilson

So three changes I would make, with Fernandez, Lewis and Almiron in for Clark, Ritchie and Joelinton.

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