With tonight’s trip to Chelsea now just a few hours away, it’s time to predict what our starting 11 might look like when the team sheets are released at 7pm.
Keeping form, fitness and recent injuries in mind, here’s the team I think Steve Bruce will go with at Stamford Bridge:
(4-3-1-2): Darlow – Krafth, Lascelles, Clark, Lewis – Willock, Hayden, Shelvey – Almiron – Joelinton, Saint-Maximin.
- Krafth in for Manquillo – With the Spaniard ruled out for a few months and the Swede putting in a solid shift after coming on against Southampton, this is a pretty straightforward swap for Steve Bruce.
- Clark in for Schar – A change that looks nailed on, with the Irishman only missing the Saints win due to his wife giving birth. A timely return now Schar is crocked.
- Lascelles in for Hendrick – The skipper’s return means Hayden could move back into that defensive midfield role, seeing him take Hendrick’s place following his stupid red card against the Saints.
- Joelinton in for Wilson – Not an inspiring change, but one that seems most likely given Gayle hasn’t started all season. The Brazilian will be in Bruce’s good books after putting in a shift to help us get over the line last weekend, not to mention the fact he *might* benefit from a more fluid formation that shouldn’t leave him nearly as isolated.
Personally, I’d go with Dubravka over Darlow and play Fraser and ASM up top with Almiron drifting between a No 10 and false No 9, however I can see Bruce sticking with Darlow (for now) and giving Joelinton perhaps one last chance to prove himself, with Gayle coming on from the bench to build his match fitness.