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Opinion

Preferred Newcastle team v Chelsea on Saturday

1 month ago
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Newcastle team v Chelsea – my starting eleven to take on the league leaders.

I’m under no illusions about Saturday’s game with the form Chelsea are in of late.

Even the loss of their main strikers hasn’t stopped them, so it’s certainly going to be a tough ask to get anything at all from this game.

As far as the new manager search is concerned, I think even if an appointment is made sometime in the next week, Graeme Jones will still be in charge for Brighton away next in eight days time. Giving whoever is named, the international break to get his philosophy and playing style into the team. Plus of course give the new boss a comparatively easier set of games (Brentford, Arsenal, Burnley, Norwich) to start things off.

All that said, here’s my ideal Newcastle team v Chelsea, in a 5-3-2.

GK – Darlow

With reports that Dubravka is still not ready to return and Woodman still injured, not really a choice to make here. The sooner Dubravka is ready to start, the better. Next weekend for Brighton hopefully?

CBs – Krafth, Lascelles, Fernandez

I think the defensive display looked a lot better against Palace (not that hard an ask), but I would still swap out Clark for Fernandez, who is by far our most consistent defender.

Lascelles would stay to keep some sort of continuity in the back line, but I could also see potentially Schar coming in to make a difference with his passing ability.

Three / five at the back is the only system I can accept Krafth in, as he can’t play in a CB pairing and he’s not good enough as a full back.

Given the difficulty we’re going to have creating chances this time out, some long throws from the Swede might be a useful tool to have.

Wing backs – Manquillo and Ritchie

Manquillo has been one of our more consistent performers in recent games and Ritchie has a great work rate and creates a good amount of chances (third highest in the league, if you can believe it!), so I wouldn’t change anything here.

Midfield – Hayden, Longstaff and Almiron

Given the fact that we’ll be hard pressed, I’d set Hayden and Longstaff up as a double pivot and have Almiron further forward in a no.10 role, where he can hopefully add some attacking flair to his amazing work rate.

Willock has apparently been playing through injury for a while, so maybe another sub appearance for him in what is going to be a free hit game, considering everybody appears to think we will lose regardless.

Attack – ASM and Wilson

Pretty much a no-brainer here, as we’ll almost certainly be hoping for a moment of magic from either of the duo, if we even have the slightest hope of getting something from the match.

My prediction?

Final score 1-3 to Chelsea and if we can show an organised defensive display to avoid a real pasting, I’d take it as a positive.

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