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Opinion

Newcastle team v Manchester City predicted with five changes for Eddie Howe

1 month ago
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Looking at this Newcastle team v Manchester City.

Eddie Howe and his team looking for a surprise result.

Newcastle heading into this one on the back of defeats to both Leicester and Liverpool, where fair to say NUFC didn’t get any help from the match officials.

Not the ideal preparation for playing the league leaders.

However, one small thing in the home side’s favour today, as well as the support of almost 50,000 Geordies after two away trips, is the fact that maybe surprisingly, Manchester City haven’t done all that well in recent years…or at least not as well as people would assume.

The last five Premier League clashes at St James Park have seen Man City win only two of them, both by a single goal. A 4-3 win last season and a 109 in 2017/18. The other three have seen a 1-1 draw in 2015/16, a 3-1 win in the 2018/19 season, plus a 2-2 draw in 2019/20. Plus, in all three of those positive results, Newcastle United came back after going behind to draw / win.

So what should be the Newcastle team v Manchester City to add to that relatively positive record, to try and pull off the unexpected?

As a starting point…

This was the Newcastle team v Liverpool:

Dubravka, Manquillo, Schar, Lascelles, Lewis, Shelvey, Hayden, Fraser, Murphy, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin

Eddie Howe was always going to rotate his team / squad, make changes etc for this match, but circumstances have made that even more certain.

Lewis now out for some time it seems after doing his hamstring at Anfield, whilst ASM limped off towards the end and I think he would have been on the bench today at best as a potential impact sub anyway.

With only two and a half days between matches, two days less than Man City, there is an even greater need for fresh legs this afternoon.

The same as the Leicester match, Martin Dubravka had little chance with any of the three Liverpool goals and indeed was unlucky as he somehow got a glove to all three finishes but two close in efforts and that Alexander-Arnold thunderbolt were impossible to save unless luck was with you.

In front of him, it is a nightmare that Lewis is now ruled out. Fans left shaking their heads at how Steve Bruce refused to give the left-back a chance, as he persisted in playing Matt Ritchie who was having a defensive nightmare.

Jamal Lewis has impressed but now with Paul Dummett still out, it is difficult to see what option Eddie Howe has but to play Ritchie, who was so poor yet again when coming on at Anfield.

I think the Head Coach will go with a three centre-back system which at least then allows (in theory!) Ritchie to be further up the pitch and not such a defensive liability, with a third centre-back on the pitch to cover.

So I see Ritchie and Murphy as wing-backs, with Manquillo getting a shift off.

As to the extra central defender, well at Anfield it was Ciaran Clark and not Emil Krafth on the bench, so with the Swede left out of the squad on Thursday, I think Clark will get another chance. Plus, he gives some balance as naturally left footed, rather than say moving Schar across. That is of course assuming Lascelles and Schar are fine to continue. No combination from our current defensive options is going to be ideal but the thought of both Clark and Krafth coming into the defence would be a major concern.

Thursday was ideal for Hayden in terms of having to run about a lot and try to curb Liverpool’s domination, no expectation of him trying to do anything on the ball. Today will be more of the same.

For the second game in a row, Jonjo Shelvey helped gift the opposition’s decisive goal. At Leicester he and Lascelles played daft short balls between themselves in the box and gave the chance for Maddison to dive for the penalty, whilst at Anfield it was a blind ridiculous back pass that led to Salah putting Liverpool ahead.

Shelvey had scored a very rare (excellent) goal at the other end but was poor overall and I see Willock coming in, with an expectation of getting forward where possible to try and get his first goal of the season. He has done ok in terms of workrate / defensively but needs to start and contribute at the attacking end.

Wilson will of course come in up front and Joelinton continue with his midfield workload, though he is another one who has to start and contribute offensively, if Newcastle are to get out of this mess.

Miguel Almiron looks another player who is sure to come in, with ASM’s limping off at Anfield all but confirming that. The Paraguayan yet another on the list of ‘works hard but not contributing much going forward’…has still to register a single PL goal or assist all season.

A nine goal win would take Newcastle out of the relegation zone but if I’m honest, I would settle for a point…

My Newcastle team v Manchester City:

Dubravka, Murphy, Schar, Lascelles, Clark, Ritchie, Hayden, Willock, Almiron, Joelinton, Wilson

So the five changes I think Eddie Howe will make.

Willock, Clark, Wilson, Ritchie and Almiron, in for Willock, Shelvey, Manquillo, Lewis and Fraser.

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