Interesting to see what the Newcastle team v Aston Villa will be.
The win over Sheffield United having put the Magpies realistically safe now, so with Man City in the FA Cup on Sunday in mind, will we see more ‘rotation’ than might otherwise have been expected?
Steve Bruce reported no major new injury problems when taking his pre-Villa press conference on Tuesday morning, although he did say some players were a little ‘sore’ after Sunday’s match, the first after restart.
Steve Bruce has also regularly talked a lot about trying to minimise the number of injuries as the 2019/20 season restarts after that 106 days break for NUFC. So taking it all into consideration, I think we will see more changes than you’d otherwise expect if desperate for points.
The NUFC Head Coach did confirm that the four players unavailable on Sunday are still ruled out, so no Ciaran Clark, Florian Lejeune or the Longstaff brothers.
This is the team that started in the win against Sheff Utd with the subs used as well:
Dubravka, Manquillo, Fernandez, Lascelles, Rose, Hayden, Shelvey (Schar 85), Ritchie (Yedlin 90+2), Almiron (Lazaro 85), Joelinton (Carroll 79), Saint-Maximin (Bentaleb 79)
The unused subs were Darlow, Gayle, Muto and Krafth.
I think the starting eleven will come from that same 20 man matchday squad, the only other two possibilities are third choice keeper Rob Elliot and Christian Atsu and I don’t envisage that pair being considered.
I don’t see any point in risking certain players on Wednesday and I think it makes sense to give other players a game, especially with the FA Cup in mind.
I think Yedlin will get a game at right-back with Manquillo rested.
I also think Schar will come in and play, with it a toss of a coin whether it is Lascelles or Fernandez benched, I have gone for the latter.
Isaac Hayden kept for Sunday after an excellent shift against Sheff Utd, Bentaleb coming in.
Matt Ritchie was a doubt on Sunday so makes sense for Lazaro to get a start and an opportunity to show us whether he can handle the Premier League.
At Southampton before lockdown, Gayle was given a chance through the middle and did well, given added mobility up front. I can see him playing against Villa and Joelinton moved out to the left, with Allan Saint-Maximin wrapped in cotton wool for the FA Cup sixth round tie. He has already had extra injury issues this season due to Steve Bruce taking daft risks and playing him when he shouldn’t, so hopefully he (Bruce) will have learnt his lessons by now.
So this is how I predict Steve Bruce’s Newcastle team v Aston Villa will look and a suggested formation:
Whatever team Steve Bruce puts out, he definitely will be desperate not to lose to his former club.