Steve Bruce announced his Newcastle team v Manchester City at 5.30pm on Sunday afternoon.
NUFC picking up four points from a possible six since the Premier League kicked off again.
So an expectation from fans that the NUFC Head Coach would be throwing everything at the FA Cup sixth round tie.
That thought (throwing everything at the FA Cup) had been undermined by Steve Bruce picking exactly the same team for Villa, as he had three days earlier against Sheff Utd, despite realistically already being safe.
Now the team selection has puzzled fans a little more…
The team named as:
Darlow, Manquillo, Schar, Fernandez, Lascelles, Rose, Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Almiron, Carroll, Saint-Maximin
Dúbravka, Shelvey, Joelinton, Gayle, Muto, Krafth, Yedlin, Lazaro, Matty Longstaff.
So Carroll, Darlow, Schar and Sean Longstaff playing instead of Joelinton, Dubravka, Ritchie and Shelvey.
So how will they line up though on the pitch today?
An additional/later announcement (see below) from the club explained Bruce’s plan and where players are playing.
Steve Bruce confirming he is reverting to a back five.
Manquillo on the right with Schar joining Fernandez and Lascelles in the middle of defence, with Rose on the left.
Then Sean Longstaff going in alongside Isaac Hayden in central midfield.
Steve Bruce confirming that Andy Carroll will be ‘leading the line’ with Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron in support.
Justifying the bizarre omission of one of Newcastle’s best player, the club announcement justifies it with: ‘Darlow has played every minute in the competition so far this season, and replaces Martin Dúbravka between the sticks.’
The statement isn’t even true as it was Martin Dubravka who kept Newcastle in the competition in the very first game, drawing 1-1 at Rochdale when NUFC were shocking in the second half.
As for Newcastle having a chance of getting to the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time in 15 minutes and leaving out best player, it is a nonsense.
Newcastle United official site confirmation of team and formation:
Andy Carroll has been handed just his fifth start of the season as Newcastle United take on Manchester City in the last eight of the FA Cup.
Carroll hasn’t played from the off for Newcastle since Everton’s visit to St. James’ Park in December. Tonight, however, he has been chosen to lead the line as United take part in their first FA Cup quarter final since 2006.
There are three other changes to the side which drew 1-1 at home to Aston Villa on Wednesday night, with Karl Darlow, Fabian Schär and Sean Longstaff all coming into the Magpies’ starting XI.
Darlow has played every minute in the competition so far this season, and replaces Martin Dúbravka between the sticks. Schär and Longstaff, meanwhile, come in for Matt Ritchie – who sits out tonight’s clash with a soft tissue injury – and Jonjo Shelvey. Schär can be expected to join Federico Fernández and Jamaal Lascelles in the heart of the backline as Steve Bruce reverts to a five-man defence.
Yoshinori Muto, Dwight Gayle and Joelinton are among a host of attacking options on the bench, where there is also a spot for Matty Longstaff, who has yet to play since the season’s resumption.
Newcastle United: Karl Darlow, Javier Manquillo, Fabian Schär, Jamaal Lascelles, Federico Fernández, Danny Rose, Isaac Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almirón, Andy Carroll.
Substitutes: Martin Dúbravka, Emil Krafth, DeAndre Yedlin, Matty Longstaff, Jonjo Shelvey, Valentino Lazaro, Yoshinori Muto, Dwight Gayle, Joelinton.