Eddie Howe getting ruthless on Sunday with these changes to starting eleven against Man Utd
Eddie Howe is at last getting a stronger squad at his disposal.
Injuries continuing to clear away hopefully and just at the right time, as Newcastle United now face seven games in four weeks, before then the break until Boxing Day for the World Cup.
As well as hopefully progressing past Palace into the fourth round of the League Cup, Eddie Howe and his players face a six game run in the Premier League as they hope to retain their current sixth place, or better, before the mid-season halt.
Only one defeat in nine Premier League games so far and the bad luck, bad decisions (from match officials) and inspired opposition goalkeepers, have finally made themselves absent, helping NUFC to six points and nine goals these past couple of games.
A draw at Old Trafford would ensure Newcastle United dropping no lower than seventh this weekend, whilst a win against Man Utd would guarantee at least fifth and two points ahead of the Mancs, whilst if Chelsea failed to beat Villa it would then see Eddie Howe lead his team into the top four after the weekend action.
Some teams below would have a game in hand BUT if indeed Newcastle United could indeed leap into that top four, even temporarily, it would be a massive morale / confidence booster and really give them something to try and hang onto and build from, when approaching the other five PL games before the World Cup break.
If a win could be brought about at Old Trafford, then you look at the next four games and see fixtures where Newcastle could have a real go at picking up a decent number of points, with Everton and Villa at home, as well as Southampton away. No matches are easy but these are certainly games where we know NUFC can approach with confidence, under Eddie Howe last season all these three fixtures brought wins.
A tricky away trip to Spurs falls within these next four games and that will be tough but the fact remains, not a bad set of four fixtures which then lead up to the very last one before we wave some of our players off to the World Cup, a home game against Chelsea on Saturday 12 November.
Imagine going into that game knowing that a win would ensure a top four spot as the six week break comes into play? The atmosphere would be class and as a 5.30pm kick-off under the lights, what more could you ask for?
Anyway, first things first.
Eddie Howe surprised a lot of people with his team selection at Fulham but injuries / fitness issues explaining away the absences of ASM, Targett and Joelinton from the team.
For the Brentford match the team selection was probably even more of a surprise, as it wasn’t injury / fitness issues that kept that trio out of the team. Simply a case of choosing other players instead.
All kinds of things wrapped up in Eddie Howe’s decisions but amongst the reasoning, in my opinion, was a case of giving encouragement to certain players after the win at Fulham rather than replacing them straight away, a feeling that a win against Brentford at home could be achieved with that same eleven as at Craven Cottage, plus giving the likes of ASM and Joelinton another week to get even more prepared / fit before coming back into the team.
Well, for my money, Eddie Howe will be showing his ruthless side on Sunday with these changes to his starting eleven against Man Utd.
Sean Longstaff has done his bit in these past couple of wins BUT away at Man Utd we definitely want Joelinton in there alongside Bruno in the midfield battle, which could well determine who comes out on top overall.
Also, an easy decision for Allan Saint-Maximin to return now fully fit and ready, Jacob Murphy has done ok but we need game changers at Old Trafford.
The other change for me will be left back, Dan Burn has done ok filling in there but clearly not as good as at centre back. He was one of the few players who didn’t play particularly well against Brentford and with Antony showing as Man Utd’s biggest threat recently, time for Matt Targett to slot back in.
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