Norwich await ahead of today’s 3pm kick off at St James’ Park and it’ll be interesting to see what side Steve Bruce selects, with all three NUFC new boys available for selection.
Ruled out are Shelvey, Carroll, Gayle, Manquillo, Muto, Dummett and Willems, but Bruce has a few options at the back, with five of his six centre-backs fit again and Rose / Lazaro arriving to strengthen us at wing-back.
In our last Premier League outing at Everton, the following side started: (5-2-2-1): Dubravka – Hayden, Fernandez, Lascelles, Clark, Ritchie – M Longstaff, S Longstaff – Almiron, Atsu, Joelinton.
Today, we think this could be something like the side that takes on Daniel Farke’s Norwich:
Predicted NUFC XI – (3-4-2-1): Dubravka – Schar, Lascelles, Clark – Lazaro, Bentaleb, Hayden, Ritchie – Almiron, Saint-Maximin – Joelinton.
OUT – Atsu, M Longstaff, S Longstaff.
IN – Saint-Maximin, Bentaleb, Lazaro.
In goal, Dubravka will return after being rested against Oxford last weekend. We’ve given him too much to do of late and he’s bailed us out on more than one occasion, so let’s hope he’s protected much better today.
In defence, the skipper will almost certainly be in the centre of a 3-man defence, while Clark (left) and Fernandez (right) seem ahead of Lejeune and Schar in the pecking order for now. That said, the latter duo’s ball playing ability could be handy in a game where we should be looking to hurt the opposition.
At wing-back, Yedlin is fit again – but Lazaro is available and could well start if Bruce has seen enough of him in training to suggest he’s match fit. On the other side, we now have Ritchie and Rose, however the latter is likely to be on the bench until he’s fully integrated into the squad.
In midfield, Bentaleb looks set to make his first league start, with his arrival all the more important now Shelvey’s been ruled out for a month. Hayden seems his most likely partner, with Sean Longstaff out of sorts and Matty still adapting to Premier League football. His energy and enthusiasm is brilliant, but we often get overrun in midfield when he starts.
Out wide, Almiron and Saint-Maximin look set to play either side of Joelinton – a striker who has no option but to perform now we failed to sign a striker and remain without Carroll, Gayle and Muto through injury.
After having two goals ruled out against Oxford, hopefully the Brazilian’s newly bleached hair can give him some more luck in front of goal at St James’ Park!
How do you see us lining up today?