Everton (H): Predicted line-ups, pre-match thoughts & team news

Last weekend arguably summed up Steve Bruce’s time on Tyneside. It was pretty awful to watch and we weren’t really sure what the plan was, yet we came away with a decent result after riding our luck and scoring late on.

On the plus side, we looked much better defensively at Wolves (although you’d hope we would with so many men camped in our own half), but left Callum Wilson far too isolated and barely posed a threat all afternoon.

This weekend we come up against an Everton side top of the Premier League table – yet they’re set to be without several star players, with Rodriguez ruled out, Richarlison and Digne suspended and club captain Coleman also missing.

The visitors will be keen to get back on track after losing for the first time last weekend, but we’ll never get a better chance to beat them this season.

The question is, will Bruce set up to have a go and take the game to a depleted Toffees side, or will he sit back and pay Carlo Ancelotti’s side too much respect as we did against Man Utd a few weeks ago?

Team news

Jamaal Lascelles is a ‘major’ doubt after picking up a foot injury at Wolves, Jonjo Shelvey is set for ‘3-4 weeks’ on the sidelines after a hernia operation, but the good news is Isaac Hayden is fit to start after missing out at Molineux.

Sean Longstaff and Matty Longstaff have both been declared fit, while Paul Dummett and Ciaran Clark could come into contention given Lascelles is likely to miss out.

Elsewhere, Martin DubravkaMatt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle are long-term absentees and remain out.

The visitors will be without several first team players, with James Rodriguez and Seamus Coleman injured and Richarlison and Lucas Digne suspended.

Predicted line up

Predicted NUFC XI (5-3-1-1): Darlow – Murphy, Schar, Fede, Clark, Lewis – Hendrick, Hayden, Almiron – ASM – Wilson.

It’s tough to predict what formation Steve Bruce will go with on Sunday. After all, we’ve played FIVE different systems in our opening six games so far!

Bruce had promised to ditch Rafa’s old formation and had been opting for a four-man defence, but last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Wolves saw us line up with five at the back.

I see us sticking with that system here. I’m not convinced it’s the way forward, but with us facing a depleted yet table-topping Everton, I see Bruce playing it safe.

In front of Darlow, I can see Clark coming in for Lascelles now he’s fit again, with the Irishman on the left, Fernandez through the middle and Schar operating as our right-sided centre-back.

Based on Bruce’s recent logic, Murphy will be undroppable and I can see him being given another shot at right wing-back – and rightly so – with Lewis down the left wing.

Everton are weakened in attack, but their midfield three of Doucoure, Allan and Gomes is very strong, so I don’t see Bruce playing two wingers either side of one central midfielder this time. With that in mind, I can see Hayden coming in for Fraser, with Almiron left of centre to support Lewis and Hendrick right of centre to help out Murphy.

In attack, Saint-Maximin could then continue in the free-role just behind Wilson, however we’ll need to see both wing backs get much further up the pitch and Almiron or Hendrick join attacks if we’re to get players closer to Wilson – who was horribly isolated for most of last weekend’s 1-1 draw.

The opposition

Here’s a few ones to watch in Carlo Ancelotti’s side:

Dominic Calvert-Lewin – No Premier League striker has scored more goals than him since Carlo Ancelotti took charge of the Toffees. Digne and Rodriguez’s could strip him of service, but he’s surprisingly quick and mobile for a big man. Containing him could be half the battle here.

Niels Nkounkou – A good mate of mine is a big Everton fan, and he’s been very impressed by what he’s seen of the left-back, praising his power, pace and quality on the ball. With Digne suspended, the 19-year-old Frenchman is expected to start and will be a big ‘one to watch’.

Allan – He won’t pose a threat in the final third, but the tenacious Brazilian has been brilliant at breaking up the play so far this season. It’ll be interesting to see how he protects that Everton back four when ASM is running at him!

Ben Godfrey – Worth noting that the former Norwich centre-back was forced to play at right-back in Coleman’s absence last weekend and struggled at Southampton as a result. If we can get Saint-Maximin running at him we could be in business down that left-hand side.

Jordan Pickford – After making error after error so far this season, he’ll be in the spotlight once again this weekend. An erratic goalkeeper who plays like he’s downed 12 cans of Red Bull before kick off – let’s hope he has another stinker on Sunday!

Predicted Everton XI: (4-3-3): Pickford – Godfrey, Mina, Keane, Nkounkou – Doucoure, Allan, Gomes – Rodriguez, Calvert-Lewin, Bernard.

Prediction

Make no mistake, if Everton had their strongest 11 fit and available for this one I’d fully expect a convincing away win. But they don’t, and we must take full advantage.

Sit back and pay them too much respect and they’ll eventually wear us down, with Calvert-Lewin likely to cause us bother if we allow easy service into him, however there’s a game to be won here if we get the balance right, get into them from the off, commit bodies forward at the right time and put pressure on an error-prone Pickford.

I’d be pleasantly surprised if we outscored them and think there’ll be some sort of reaction from them after that dismal display at Southampton, however I can see picking up another point here.

PredictionNewcastle 1-1 Everton

HWTL!

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About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

59 thoughts on “Everton (H): Predicted line-ups, pre-match thoughts & team news

  1. Bruce has gone on about finding the balance – but he wants to move away from the 3 CBs – it’s his team, but I think with the players he has that’s a mistake.
    It doesn’t have to be an overly defensive formation if you pick the right players & I do think we have players that suit certain formation – for example I think Lascelles looks more comfortable in a back 4 than the 3 CBs. I think Shelvey would suit a 3 in midfield where he would get more time & the other 2 would be the grafters.

    I think Rafa used it too defensively too often – but when it looked at its best was when he had the players.

    For me I think you need wing backs who can get forward, but know how to defend too – Jetro was very good at it before he got injured. I think Lewis could be but needs time. I like the idea of trying Murphy at it on the right – we know he can get forward, but his defending would be in question – he has the energy to get up and down though.

    CBs needs to be a mix of no nonsense & ball players – I think Schar on the right is a ball player, Fernandez is solid & id go Clark or Dummett left side – which would give good balance, but Clark is a threat from corners.

    Midfield – I think you need 2 high energy midfielders. Our best pairing was Hayden and S Longstaff – both very mobile & covered a lot of ground. I think Longstaffs injury has meant he can’t cover that ground in the same way. I’d consider Almiron in there with Hayden – he never stops running & closing down. I don’t think he’s as effective in the final 3rd as we’d all like to believe, but that could be a good roll for him.

    The front 3 at the mo would be ASM free roll with Joelinton & Wilson up top. When Gayle is back id stick him up there with Wilson – but that is still the area needing addressing in January for me.

    ———————- Darlow ——————-
    —— Schar — Fernandez — Clark ——
    Murphy ———————————- Lewis
    ———— Hayden —— Almiron ———
    ———————— ASM ———————-
    ———— Wilson ——- Joelinton ———

    I think Murphy & Almiron would have the biggest jobs to do in that set up – new roles to learn & Almiron would have to be really disciplined in there, but he has a range of passing that could make him dangerous in there too. It would need some work, but I think that’s his best balance.

    I considered the front 3 being Frazer & ASM playing wider behind Wilson, and that could be an option. But I favour 2 up top to give Wilson support.

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  2. Sharpy, that would be my line up too apart from Joe. I’d play Fraser instead. In fact I’d rather play with 10 than have Joe in.

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  3. georgio:
    Sharpy, that would be my line up too apart from Joe. I’d play Fraser instead. In fact I’d rather play with 10 than have Joe in.

    Georgio – I do say it’s the position we need to address in Jan mate, Joelinton being the player I think we need to replace.
    I think we are truly buggered though coz I don’t know how we get anywhere close to our money back.

    He’s looked better on the left of the 3 or as a 2nd striker, but still miles off the pace for the PL. I think Bruce has to try and find a set up that works for him & Wilson coz he’s not getting rid of him anytime soon & I think Ashley will expect him to feature 🤷🏼‍♂️.
    As I say, if Gayle were fit, he’d be alongside Wilson for me

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  4. georgio:
    Sharpy, that would be my line up too apart from Joe. I’d play Fraser instead. In fact I’d rather play with 10 than have Joe in.

    With you on the Fraser swap mate, ASM defo behind the front two though.

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  5. Sharpy17:
    Waiting on Boris here like – I expect this conversation is heading back to politics 🤦🏼‍♂️

    Me thinks Lews respite visit is about to be cancelled, oh well, never wanted a break anyway 🙄

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  6. ffs, he can’t even make it to the presser on time
    He’s gone trick or treating hasn’t he ?
    Hurry up man .

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  7. I think we will see Olly’s lineup. All I ask is that the wingbacks actually play as wingbacks and we dont have a flat back 5. That would allow us to play the 2 holding midfielders. I would like to see Fraser on but cant see where he could fit in. Good option off the bench. I would play Clark ahead of Lascelles for this regardless of fitness. I think he is better in the air and along with Fernandez would hopefully keep Calvert-Lewin in check.

    I know I have slated Bruce all week but I have a feeling we might play a bit better and get a result here. Unless you are really crap there tends to be an ebb and flow in the PL where a team will put in a decent show when least expected. Even occasionally with a Bruce team.

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  8. kimtoon: Me thinks Lews respite visit is about to be cancelled, oh well, never wanted a break anyway

    Hope not. Boris is at least not as bad as Trump. He might be a bit dim witted but he doesnt actively encourage people not to wear masks or social distance like Trump does. There is actual science that this works because of testing. The rate of infection with a mask is 3% and without 17%. They know the virus is airborne so it is obvious that keeping apart will help. And yet Trump mocks people with masks.

    Not the same, but they have shut down the bars and restaurants again in Chicago. There really is a lot of pushback because they think they might go bust. One bar that’s been open for 70 years just closed permanently near me.

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  9. Our system last week made Wilson look like Joelinton last year. I would ask Bruce to consider our forward talent and then come back to me and tell me why we cannot get 2 goals a game:

    Wilson – 20 mil, England international

    St Max – best player on the pitch most games he played (carrying an injury last week). Even at this early stage at NUFC there was talk of him being worth 40-50 million.

    Miggy – cost 20 mil

    Fraser – before he ran his contract down there were rumours of Arsenal being interested at 20 mil plus.

    Murphy – cost 10 mil increasing to 13 mil depending on appearances.

    Joelinton – yes I know!!!! But they said he cost 40 mil.

    Whether people have held their value or not on paper/fees that’s about 150 million of attacking talent there and that is without the injured Gayle.

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  10. So he says there is a vote on Wednesday – does that mean the lockdown won’t happen til Thursday at the earliest then?!.

    I have to say that I’m annoyed and disappointed about this lockdown. I accepted the first one was needed, but his main thread was getting the R rate back down before Christmas. I want to see a plan, I want to see how they manage this better because there are people who have been furloughed and due to go back to work on Monday who are now back to square one for another month – and will that job survive the next month.

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  11. Sharpy17:
    So he says there is a vote on Wednesday – does that mean the lockdown won’t happen til Thursday at the earliest then?!.

    I have to say that I’m annoyed and disappointed about this lockdown.I accepted the first one was needed, but his main thread was getting the R rate back down before Christmas.I want to see a plan, I want to see how they manage this better because there are people who have been furloughed and due to go back to work on Monday who are now back to square one for another month – and will that job survive the next month.

    I just hope they use this month to sort out the track and trace properly so we don’t have to lock down again.
    Here in Bristol we were only in tier one but cases are rising so likely would of been in tier 2 by next week anyway.

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  12. If this is learning to live with it God help us!

    The only way this is ever acceptable is if they know there’s vaccines and cures just round the corner. If that’s the case why not tell us?

    It’s not acceptable if there isn’t. It’s not an acceptable way for people to have to live their lives. Simple as that!

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  13. I already know of one pub that has thrown in the towel. The owner can’t handle the stress and decided he’d rather be unemployed on benefits than worrying about going bankrupt. How many of these people/business’ are there? More kids will be struggling to be fed now I guess. That’s worked well…

    Doesn’t matter. We’ve been through it before so all good.

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  14. Give it a rest Stu, none of us are happy with the situation, it is what it is, we just gotta hope they can get a handle on it during this lockdown.

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  15. kimtoon:
    Give it a rest Stu, none of us are happy with the situation, it is what it is, we just gotta hope they can get a handle on it during this lockdown.

    Nah, Kim. I’m utterly pissed off. I am seeing friends and family get destroyed

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  16. Paul Merson’s Giant Balloon Heed was saying what do we expect going to Wolves? Bruce deserves credit for getting a draw (he said). We have 150 million quid of attacking talent Paul, I expect to get out of our own half now and again!!!!

    And if we do OK/well against Everton then we will hear it from all of the pundits that Bruce has turned water into wine, a sows ear into a silk purse.

    We are punching below our weight in terms of performances. I dont even mind getting beat sometimes but we do not even give it a go against some teams and rely on extreme fortune – Spurs and Wolves!!!!

    I dont think these pundits watch many of our games, otherwise they wouldnt come to the conclusions they do.

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  17. Looking at our 2 wins. Burnley have 1 point from 6 games. I also thought we caught West Ham off guard because Moyes seems to have settled them down now.

    Bruce seems to think there are all these keyboard warriors criticising him. As many have said, he should be thankful that there weren’t 52k in SJP to watch Man U and Brighton. He would have got to hear the true feelings of fans who are sick of the negative “tactics”.

    He must live in a bubble where he only ever talks to the other 2 Steves and watches Sky where his pundit pals have his back. A few are starting to turn but most are still saying he doing a great job. We should force them to watch the Brighton game on a loop for 24 hrs and then see what they say.

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  18. Watching one of the much lauded SAGE member on Sky. He says it’s impossible for any track and trace to work with the number of cases were currently seeing… What will the government bashers say to that? Who will they blame now?

    By the way – there’s zero chance of us seeing our families legally over Christmas. What a disgrace.

    We should have turned the clocks back 1 year not 1 hour!

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  19. At least Georgio and Stewie agree it will be zero goals for us! 🙂 It is hard to score when you dont get out of your own half. How about some speculative shot from the half way line by Schar at the TRex mackem?

    I might be mad, but I have a feeling we might not be as shyte in this game and could get something out of it.

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  20. Eric, my expectations of us getting anything out of the game are pretty low, the only hope is that the players they have missing helps us as it should and would for other teams, oh and they also have T.rex so you never know.

    One more game after this then another bloomin break.

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  21. Stewie Thatcher: dont people have a right to bash the Govt when they have fcked up? The scientists and drs have also been wrong on occasions but not as wrong as Boris and Trump.

    I dont get where you are coming from bashing ONLY the scientists as if they are the problem when the spin of our Govts is as much to blame.

    Trump Out.

    Boris Out.

    Bruce Out.

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  22. Kimtoon: my nature is to be a bit of a contrarian so when Supermac says 0-3, John Gibson 0-2, Stewie 0-2 and Georgio 0-1, I think it is TOO negative.

    Not putting any money on it mind 🙂

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  23. Can they elect a new Tory leader/PM without a vote of NO CONFIDENCE in the whole Govt? Flouncy Boris is a bit of an arse and a t!t.

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  24. “We’ve got to try and find that balance. At the minute, I make no excuse for the way we went about our work at Wolves to get a point after the disappointing result the week before. It was far better and we have to be that way because if we’re not then we will get beat. My job is to make sure we get a result and stay in the Premier League.”

    At least somebody has admitted it now…Survival is the aim. What’s the point…

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  25. Eric Sykes:
    Stewie Thatcher: dont people have a right to bash the Govt when they have fcked up? The scientists and drs have also been wrong on occasions but not as wrong as Boris and Trump.

    I dont get where you are coming from bashing ONLY the scientists as if they are the problem when the spin of our Govts is as much to blame.

    Trump Out.

    Boris Out.

    Bruce Out.

    I’ve bashed them as much as anybody for their reaction to this but as you have said, every government in the world is doing the same and reacting the same. I cut them some slack as it’s never happened before and there isn’t a living leader until he world who’s experienced this. Who knows if they’re right or wrong?

    But I do find the government bashing boring and seems to me that people want the government to do everything for them and when they don’t it’s the governments fault. Odd but everyone is different.

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  26. Stuart79: I’ve bashed them as much as anybody for their reaction to this but as you have said, every government in the world is doing the same and reacting the same. I cut them some slack as it’s never happened before and there isn’t a living leader until he world who’s experienced this. Who knows if they’re right or wrong?

    But I do find the government bashing boring and seems to me that people want the government to do everything for them and when they don’t it’s the governments fault. Odd but everyone is different.

    Stu – you cut the government some slack because they are only taking advice from the scientists.
    But at the end of Sept the scientists were suggesting a 2 week lockdown ‘circuit breaker’, and Boris opted for a 3 tier localised restriction system instead – 3-4 weeks later and he’s back at his podium, nearly 3hrs late, announcing the need for a 4 week lockdown … but not with immediate effect, no, they’ll chew the fat for the best part of next week, then they’ll do it.

    No the track & trace isn’t effective with the number of cases now – which is why I’m p!ssed off they didn’t get it sorted in the first lockdown.

    It’s amazing I can buy something on line & enter my details – half an hour later I’m getting peppered with junk ads coz my details have been shared around. Yet catch this virus and it’s a lottery if I’m informed or not.

    Boris done his best Churchill impression and addressed the nation saying we are all in this together. Then brought in his tier system – so large parts of the North has spent the last few weeks in tier 3. The NE is bringing its spread down as a result, we’re doing our bit & his response to that is to call for a 4 week lockdown.

    I bash the government coz what’s needed through this is strong leadership. At every point they have shown themselves to be incompetent, and we are all suffering for it.

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  27. I think with the players Everton have missing today, Brucey luck could be in again today.
    I watched Evertons last game & they weren’t great. Without Richarlison & James they lack a lot of creativity.
    Iwobi & Sigurrdson werent good at all.

    If he sets up negative again then nowt, but there is at least a draw there today.

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  28. Sharpy17: Stu – you cut the government some slack because they are only taking advice from the scientists.
    But at the end of Sept the scientists were suggesting a 2 week lockdown ‘circuit breaker’, and Boris opted for a 3 tier localised restriction system instead – 3-4 weeks later and he’s back at his podium, nearly 3hrs late, announcing the need for a 4 week lockdown … but not with immediate effect, no, they’ll chew the fat for the best part of next week, then they’ll do it.

    No the track & trace isn’t effective with the number of cases now – which is why I’m p!ssed off they didn’t get it sorted in the first lockdown.

    It’s amazing I can buy something on line & enter my details – half an hour later I’m getting peppered with junk ads coz my details have been shared around.Yet catch this virus and it’s a lottery if I’m informed or not.

    Boris done his best Churchill impression and addressed the nation saying we are all in this together.Then brought in his tier system – so large parts of the North has spent the last few weeks in tier 3.The NE is bringing its spread down as a result, we’re doing our bit & his response to that is to call for a 4 week lockdown.

    I bash the government coz what’s needed through this is strong leadership.At every point they have shown themselves to be incompetent, and we are all suffering for it.

    As The chief Scientific offer said yesterday, yes they recommended a lockdown a month ago but it’s not as black and white and a lockdown a month ago would have not been painless and there’d have been victims from that too. You are a prime example, Sharpy of seeing this as simple. You don’t seem to grasp the fact that going “all in” on one side of the situation isn’t a simple choice without consequences. I guarantee you that we will be right back to where we are today come January. Only difference is a few more lives will have been demolished but gone unnoticed because they’re not Covid lives. Your view is emblematic of the problem the PM has. You see everything through the prism of Covid lives and nothing of anybody else’s.

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  29. Why is Bruce the only coach it seems that suggests his players can’t play a positive brand of football? Everyone else seems to manage it and yet he’s at it again telling everyone he has to be negative. He’s the luckiest manager in the country while fans aren’t allowed in.

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  30. Stuart79: As The chief Scientific offer said yesterday, yes they recommended a lockdown a month ago but it’s not as black and white and a lockdown a month ago would have not been painless and there’d have been victims from that too. You are a prime example, Sharpy of seeing this as simple. You don’t seem to grasp the fact that going “all in” on one side of the situation isn’t a simple choice without consequences. I guarantee you that we will be right back to where we are today come January. Only difference is a few more lives will have been demolished but gone unnoticed because they’re not Covid lives. Your view is emblematic of the problem the PM has. You see everything through the prism of Covid lives and nothing of anybody else’s.

    Stu – you are a walking contradiction. You are p!ssed off about the lockdown but defend the decisions they make. Never have I suggested this is simple, not for one second. But I do think the government have made it more complicated with the number of u-turns they’ve made throughout. I also think that by not punishing their own for rule breaks, they have lost the trust of a lot of the nation.

    Of course there would be pain with the circuit break lockdown – but we would have all been in the same boat then & that one was proposed for 2 weeks rather than the month it is now.

    I’m well aware of the bigger picture mate. 16 people my Mam works with were due back to work tomorrow & now won’t be. All of whom spent the last 3 months worrying if they had a job to go back to – guess how they feel today?!.
    This is many ‘non essential’ businesses most profitable time of year with the lead up to Christmas.

    They stood at the podium earlier this year and THEY promised X amount of tests, THEY promised antibody tests, THEY promised a WORLD CLASS track & trace system – and we don’t have those things. They massively over promised, have had under delivered on all things mate. Nobody made demands of them, it was Matt Han**** who promised X amount of tests by a certain date – didn’t happen. It was Matt Han**** who guaranteed anyone who had a test would get their results in X amount of time – hasn’t happened. It was Matt Han**** who guaranteed a world class track & trace – hasn’t happened.
    You can pop at me all you like for only seeing things from my COVID prism (which isn’t the case), but by that you are saying that they had a bigger picture to consider – accepted. Yet they still made all these promises.
    Will it be their fault if we do find ourselves back to square one in Jan?.

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  31. Well not too bad that first half but not very exciting… very few chances and maxi very quiet. Could easily have been a pen to us with Wilson being wrestled to the ground but hey ho… let’s see what happens in the second half

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  32. Excellent movement from Wilson for the corner. Don’t know what the delay was for though!!. If Salahs was a penalty yesterday against WHU then that was one all day long.

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  33. I dont mind playing counter attack. What we ask is to not play scared as we have the players to worry other teams.

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  34. Job done…. where did 6 mins come from? Good win. I think Murphy had a really good game again for us… nice to see a striker that can strike! Onwards and upwards…

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  35. Still laboured but a lot better.

    If he wants to find that balance I think 3 CBs is defo the platform to start with. Murphy & Lewis look effective wing backs. Almiron & Longstaff grew into the game – Hendricks didn’t affect the game at all. Hayden would be in ahead of Hendricks for me, but if he wanted to go more offensive, I’d go Fraser.
    I thought Fraser offered more when he came on, so I’d go for him & ASM in behind Wilson.

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  36. Ancelotti said Pickford was rested and will play the next game. We will see about that as Olsen played well. However, one more mistake from the Mackem TRex and he will be out. This should certainly send a message to Southgate.

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  37. Do you think the DESERVED criticism got to the 3 Steves a bit? I dont mind us playing with wing backs as long as they play as wing backs. That allows us to have defensive midfielders.

    We at least did not just sit with 9 players within 30 yards of our goal, which was a change.

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  38. Southampton next up. They are 3rd which is too high for that team. They used to be our bogey team but we have done better recently. They were 4-0 up against Villa and it ended 4-3 so who knows. They play the high press so as long as we dont just sit back I think we have a chance on the counter.

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  39. I had us down to finish 12th which is still possible if Bruce plays to our strengths. No sign of Joe today!!!

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  40. Really sad to hear Sir Bob Charlton has dementia, as did Nobby Stiles, maybe heading the ball does have a link to it,a lot of ex players do seem to suffer from it.

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