Newcastle team v Leicester with one change to get Eddie Howe that follow up win
Looking at this Newcastle team v Leicester.
What a boost if Eddie Howe and his team can get a follow up result.
After a disastrous start to the season, no wins in the first fourteen games, out of the League Cup and rock bottom of the Premier League, the head coach his players getting that first win of the season against Burnley last weekend.
It is surely a massive opportunity for Newcastle United.
Facing a Leicester team and manager who are under massive pressure from their fans.
After consecutive fifth place league finishes and winning the FA Cup in May, Brendan Rodgers has a team that can’t stop conceding goals (conceded at least two goals in five of last six matches and not a Premier League clean sheet since opening day of the season), played in Naples on Thursday night and knocked out of the Europa League, only three wins in the last twelve PL matches.
That doesn’t of course automatically equal a defeat for Leicester this afternoon…but it must significantly increase the margins for the visitors.
Leicester’s hectic schedule (played 23 matches this season already, compared to 16 for Newcastle), the Foxes playing twice (losing to Villa last Sunday and Napoli on Thursday) since NUFC beat Burnley.
Eddie Howe has had eight days between matches to prepare and with the exception of long-term injured Paul Dummett, a full squad available to choose from. Meanwhile, Leicester have problems on the availability front as well, with at least seven players set to be missing today via positive Covid tests and / or illness.
So what should be the Newcastle team v Leicester to try and take advantage?
As a starting point…
This was the Newcastle team v Burnley:
Dubravka, Manquillo, Schar, Lascelles, Lewis, Shelvey, Willock, Almiron, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin, Wilson
Some people will always say, never change a winning team.
However, with a pretty much full squad to choose from and a busy schedule of seven matches in a stretch of 27 days, you have to consider whether the team that beat Burnley can be further improved.
Newcastle were well worth their win and indeed should have won by more – but it wasn’t perfect. I don’t think anybody played badly but some played far better than others.
No surprise that it was Martin Dubravka who delivered the first Premier League clean sheet of the season for Newcastle United.
Only one shot on target for Burnley all match but he gave great confidence in commanding his box.
In front of him, full-backs Manquillo and Lewis doing very well, once again leaving us scratching our heads at what was going on inside Steve Bruce’s…
As for centre-backs, Newcastle fans overwhelmingly wanted Fernandez in the side BUT Lascelles out of nowhere produced his best performance for a long time. He and Fabian Schar did really well against the Burnley up and under tactics.
Eddie Howe said that Schar missed some training early this past week due to sore ribs (no surprise after facing Burnley!) but that he should be fine. No reason to change anything at the back and Schar desperately needed as well to help Newcastle play football from the back, against a Leicester side who have had real trouble with teams running at them.
As for the other six places in the Newcastle team v Leicester, it is once again largely an easy ticking boxes exercise.
Wilson, ASM and the returning Almiron all performed well against Burnley and the trio threatened repeatedly, especially in the second half.
As for Joelinton and Shelvey, both have absolutely raised their game since Eddie Howe replaced Steve Bruce. If they can keep improving, they can be two real assets to the team and potentially significantly change what will be attempted in the January transfer window.
That leaves us with Joe Willock.
During last season’s run of seven scoring matches in a row, saw Joe Willock make Leicester away his fourth of the seven. The then loan player opening the scoring on 22 minutes with a then typical forward run that got its reward, Newcastle going on to take a 4-0 lead before Leicester got two late goals.
Willock has struggled to show anything like the form of late last season and though doing a little better against Burnley, is still struggling to find his place in the team this season and how to make an impact.
It is in the balance for me as to whether he stays in today.
I know others would consider Hayden as the automatic replacement but for me he is so poor on the ball, that with Edddie Howe trying to play better football, for me it would be Sean Longstaff coming in. He gets far more criticism than he deserves from many fans and puts loads of yards in closing the opposition down, is decent on the ball, plus he’s one of very few Newcastle players who tries to shoot from outside the box, never mind be decent at it.
My Newcastle team v Leicester:
Dubravka, Manquillo, Schar, Lascelles, Lewis, Shelvey, Longstaff, Almiron, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin, Wilson
So just the one change I think Eddie Howe should / could make, with Longstaff in for Willock. However, if he did stick with the former Arsenal player, then I would understand the reasoning and hope more games under Howe will bring increased levels of performance for Joe Willock…and goals!
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