Interesting to see what the Newcastle United team v Manchester United will be on Saturday night.
It seems an awful long time ago that the Magpies beat Burnley 12 days ago.
What has felt like an endless international break (another once coming up in November…), plus of course the overwhelming coverage of the attempted power grab by Liverpool and Manchester United
This upcoming game has also been at the centre of controversy, as one of the 15 pay per view matches in October.
The Premier League and broadcasters somehow deciding that during this miserable period, £14.95 for each PPV game was the right way to go…
The Newcastle team that started in the win over Burnley was: Darlow, Krafth, Fernandez, Schar, Lewis, Shelvey, Hayden, Hendrick, Joelinton, Wilson, Saint-Maximin.
My money would be on seven of those players definitely starting again in the Newcastle United team v Manchester United.
Those seven are Darlow, Fernandez, Shelvey, Hayden, Joelinton, Wilson and Saint-Maximin.
The common factor is of course that none of those seven have been away on international duty.
When Rafa Benitez was manager he would often make brave / radical changes, leaving out certain usual first choice players who had been away on international duty, in favour of those who stayed at home and who he’d had a chance to intensively train with in whatever formation / plan he had for that next match.
Steve Bruce is more inclined to give extra time off during the international breaks for those not called up and not make such sweeping changes, based on whether or not players did or didn’t play for their countries.
However, I still think Darlow, Fernandez, Shelvey, Hayden, Joelinton, Wilson and Saint-Maximin will be starters against Man Utd. They were Bruce’s choices for that Burnley match and all to varying degrees did well / ok in that 3-1 win, so no real pressure / reason to leave any of them out, at least in Steve Bruce’s eyes anyway I think.
That leaves four places in the team, all four who played against Burnley, having been on international duty – namely Krafth, Lewis, Hendrick and Schar.
Well the players we definitely know won’t be playing are Martin Dubravka, Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie, who are all still injured.
Steve Bruce had said he hoped to have Ciaran Clark, Paul Dummett and Matty Longstaff all back training this week but no news yet on whether that has been the case.
Even if they have been, difficult to see Matty Longstaff getting into the starting eleven, especially with no first team start since February.
Whilst Paul Dummett hasn’t played in the Premier League since January and it was February when Ciaran Clark last did so.
Jamaal Lascelles missed Burnley with a hamstring problem, if fit then he would automatically come back in but no news on him. If not up for selection then Steve Bruce would appear to have only Fabian Schar to play alongside Fernandez. The NUFC Head Coach doesn’t appear keen on the Swiss defender but he did alright against Burnley, although he has had a busy past week, starting all three Switzerland games and getting a red card against Germany after a poor defensive performance from him/ Although admittedly up against very good opposition.
Emil Krafth has only played 45 minutes for Sweden in these internationals, I expect Steve Bruce to stick with him.
Javier Manquillo was unlucky to be left out against Burnley but very likely could come back in on Saturday night. Jamal Lewis missed Northern Ireland’s defeat in Norway last night to instead go for a scan on his Achilles, so he has to be a major doubt and Manquillo the obvious one to fill in.
That leaves one space in the team.
Jeff Hendrick has started all four of Newcastle’s Premier League matches, playing all but 16 minutes of the quartet of matches. However, he surely must be one player Steve Bruce will consider resting and starting him on the bench.
Hendrick play all 120 minutes last Thursday against Slovakia, then the full 90 of Sunday’s goalless draw with Wales, before the opening 75 minutes last night as the Republic of Ireland lost to Finland.
I’d like to think Steve Bruce might go bold and put Ryan Fraser in, as he’s been in excellent form for Scotland. Man of the match in the win over Slovakia on Sunday and then scoring the winning goal against Czech Republic last night.
Manchester United have looked suspect at the back this season and I’d love to see Newcastle really press the Man Utd defence from the first whistle, using the pace / mobility of Wilson, ASM and Fraser.
However, I think Bruce will go with Sean Longstaff instead as a third central midfielder.
This gives us a predicted Newcastle United team v Manchester United:
Darlow, Krafth, Fernandez, Lascelles (Schar if Lascelles unavailable), Manquillo, Shelvey, Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Joelinton, Wilson, Saint-Maximin
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