With tonight’s trip to Manchester United now just a few hours away, it’s time to predict what our starting 11 could look like when the team sheets are released at 6pm.
Keeping injury, form and fitness levels in mind, here’s the team I think Steve Bruce will go with at Old Trafford:
(4-3-1-2): Darlow – Krafth, Lascelles, Clark, Lewis – Willock, Hayden, Shelvey – Almiron – Fraser, Saint-Maximin.
OUT – Dwight Gayle?
IN – Ryan Fraser?
I’d like to see Dubravka replace Darlow, but Steve Bruce’s latest comments on the goalkeeping situation suggest he still believes the latter ‘deserves’ to keep his place between the sticks.
We could do with a more capable right-back than Krafth – especially when Rashford will be more than likely running at him – but with Yedlin sold and Manquillo injured, the Swede seems likely to continue. Murphy is an option but only tends to play when he’s a wing-back in a five man defence.
Shelvey’s lack of pace, energy or intensity is an ongoing concern, but Hendrick isn’t the answer and Bruce seems unlikely to hand either of the Longstaff brothers a sudden start – even if Matty probably deserves another shot in the side after doing little wrong before he was axed.
In attack, Fraser has to return. He created more chances in 20 minutes than any other Newcastle player did all night at Chelsea and was also a key cog in our 2-0 win at Everton. Saint-Maximin was very poor last time out, but I can see him and Fraser playing in wide forward roles, with Almiron drifting in between a No 10 and false No 9 role – giving us a trio that could hurt Man Utd on the counter.
How do you see us lining up? Let us know in the comments section!