Brighton (A) Pre-match thoughts, team news, possible line-ups & score prediction

Steve Bruce can lecture us all he likes about this “accumulation of points” approach between now and May 23rd, but there’s no getting away from the fact this is a relegation six-pointer he really has to win.

After all, if he can’t get a win from any of Wolves, West Brom, Aston Villa and Brighton, I don’t see how that’ll change when six of our next seven games after see us play sides in the top 10.

Lascelles’ last gasp equaliser last time out saved us from what would’ve been a truly crushing defeat, but Brighton went two better by beating Southampton last weekend – a win that’ll send them into this one with renewed confidence.

We go into this boosted by the fact Miguel Almiron might be fit enough to feature, however work needs to be done in the final third if we’re to continue with this 4-3-1-2 formation that’s seen us put too many square pegs in round holes since our three amigos got injured.

Brighton are a funny old team. If they had a Callum Wilson they’d be closer to the top 10 than a relegation battle, but the truth is they have a lot of possession, look good on the eye, create chances and give little away at the back…but rarely pull off the wins!

Thankfully, Bielsa’s Leeds did Bruce and nervous Newcastle fans watching on from their sofa a big favour at Craven Cottage last night, meaning we go into the Brighton game knowing a win could send us FIVE clear of Fulham with a game in hand.

If that doesn’t motivate Bruce to go for all three points and put fire in the bellies of our players, I’m not sure what will!

Team news

  • Miguel Almiron – Trained on Thursday and “has a chance” of returning to the side. Seems likely to make the squad, but it remains to be seen if he’ll be named on the bench or in Bruce’s starting 11.
  • Callum Wilson – Back on the grass but won’t be fit for first-team action until the international break.
  • Allan Saint-Maximin – Spotted on the treadmill this week, however he’s another who won’t feature at The Amex.
  • Fabian Schar – Is said to be ‘progressing well’ from knee surgery, but Bruce insists this one will come too soon for the Swiss international.
  • Javier Manquillo – Fit enough to return to the squad in our last two, but started on the bench in both. Will Bruce bring him back into his XI here? I hope so.

Predicted lineup

(4-3-1-2): Dubravka – Manquillo, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett – Willock, Shelvey, Hayden – Fraser – Joelinton, Murphy.

I would love to see Almiron back in the side – he’s been our best player since the turner of the year for me and the key cog in this 4-3-1-2 formation – however I think he’ll start on the bench.

Manquillo IN, Krafth OUT? – Bruce said that Manquillo didn’t start in last week’s draw with Aston Villa because he was ‘erring on the side of caution’ regarding his recent recovery from an ankle injury. With this a must-win game and Krafth limited at both ends of the pitch, you’d like to think Bruce will bring the club’s best right-back into the side for this one!

Murphy IN, Gayle OUT? – The latter may have been the victim of a manager who decided to play him out wide last week, but it’s fair to say Murphy offered more in 10 minutes than Gayle did all night against Villa. Murphy looks hungry, hard working, direct and has the pace to hurt a slow Brighton defence on the break.

Elsewhere, I feel Shelvey’s lack of mobility could be found out if Brighton move the ball quickly and dominate possession as they so often do, but with Hendrick no better and the two Longstaff’s frozen out at present, I’d expect our midfield to be unchanged.

In attack, I’d like to see Almiron in the false 9 role (if fit!), with Murphy and Fraser wide. No strikers but three players who’d possess the pace to hurt Brighton on the break. That said, Bruce has talked up Joelinton ahead of this one and defended his promising yet wasteful display against Aston Villa, so that combined with his height from set pieces (Brighton have plenty giants!) could see the Brazilian stay in the side.

Whatever happens, Jacob Murphy deserves a start, having changed the game last week before bagging a crucial late assist for Lascelles’ leveller.

Match prediction

I’d love to say we’re going to turn up and pull off the biggest win of Steve Bruce era, but I just struggle to see it.

Our record against Brighton has been abysmal since promotion, but it’s more the fact they have the momentum, the far superior playing style and a manager who absolutely schooled Bruce the last time the two clubs met, beating us 3-0 at St James’ Park.

I see us putting in a fight and trying to hurt them on the break, however our lack of fit goalscorer’s combined with their suffocating style of play that sees them dominate the ball and create chances could be a recipe for disaster.

Hopefully they prove me wrong and frustrate a Brighton side that’ve found wins at home hard to come by this season. Even if we did, have we got enough at the other end to pull off that win we so desperately need?

All we be revealed come 10pm Saturday, however I’m fearing we’ll follow in Fulham’s footsteps with a slip up of our own!

Prediction: Brighton 1-0 Newcastle

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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.

79 thoughts on “Brighton (A) Pre-match thoughts, team news, possible line-ups & score prediction

  1. Quite a good game. Sadly it’s hard to enjoy it when our position is so much under threat. Just watch Fulham win this. They are really up for it.


  2. I see this as a Dubravka masterclass and a deflected goal for the Donkey. So, 1 nil to us.

    I agree with the team you say Bruce will pick Olly, except I think he will start Miggy over Murphy.


  3. I think we need to give Andy Carroll a go up front too against Brighton. They have some height in their team. We need some too.


  4. It is quite funny DT/GT how slow our games seem to be even when you compare us with mid-table like Leeds and in the relegation zone like Fulham.


  5. Now we have bloody Mitro coming on! Wouldnt that just be precious him hauling Fulham above us 🙂


  6. I am annoyed now because both teams are going for it when we play it sideways to the quarterback (Shelvey) or a back pass to the goalie to hoof. Even with a slight change in style of play, that seems ingrained in the players still.

    And I will repeat for the umpteenth time – WHO IS GRAEME JONES? It is Easter soon and I am not sure who he is or if he will be the resurrection.


  7. Well done Leeds for the second goal.

    The thing is that this match looks like pinball whereas when we play it looks like your granny doing lawn bowling.


  8. Yeah Eric, both of these teams play like they really want to win. We play sideways, backwards to the goalie or give it away… we play like sloths on acid!


  9. Gilly Toon:
    Yeah Eric, both of these teams play like they really want to win. We play sideways, backwards to the goalie or give it away… we play like sloths on acid!

    Perfect description mate, sloths on acid indeed


  10. Right that’s a massive help, thanks Leeds.
    Well then Bruciesaurus what you gonna do to keep us above them, and don’t even consider putting a CF on the wing or a winger through the middle you twit .


  11. kimtoon:
    Right that’s a massive help, thanks Leeds.
    Well then Bruciesaurus what you gonna do to keep us above them, and don’t even consider putting a CF on the wing or a winger through the middle you twit .

    I think “TWIT” is a very kind term for him 🙂


  12. So, Leeds did their bit … perhaps Cabbage Heed can play Gayle in goal tomorrow, Carroll as centre half and Kraft cheese as a false striker… the win is in the bag.. bring Atsu in from the cold to make the tea at half time … 😳. See the manager lark is easy!


  13. Gilly, mate. a lot of this stuff doesnt make any sense to me. Let’s forget about the Bruce selections and “tactics” and where he plays players for a moment. And also his nonsense at press conferences. But…

    He obviously had no say in hiring Jones who the Chronic say is “ASSISTANT HEAD COACH”. So this pretty much of a nobody was hired to undermine Bruce and be his caretaker-in-waiting. Hired to be above the 2 other Steves (Clemence and Agnew). God knows what they ever did because it was certainly not working on set pieces. But they were his men and he was undermined by the appointment of the pretty much of a nobody, Graeme Jones.

    It is typical bloody Mike Ashley. He brings someone in with promises of power and lets Bruce do a power grab and take the reins back. It was the same with Keegan, Wise, Jiminez. Even Carr and Charnley who were allowed to hire Schteve.

    Unless you are Bolton, Blackpool, Morecombe, Sunderland, Coventry, Blackburn, Derby or Boro our club must be the worst run in the world 🙂


  14. I usually dont like commentators dragging up inane facts they found on google, but this might actually be informative. STAT ATTACK:

    Since we were promoted together, NUFC have not won against Brighton. We have lost 3 and drawn 4. We have scored a total of 1 goal in those 7 games. Yes, a TOTAL of 1 goal in 7 games.

    Come on Donkey, your time has come. A scuffed or deflected winner in the 87th minute please.


  15. JEFF KING:

    Everywhere Bruce has been there have been death spirals except when he moved on because a bigger mug decided to give him a more lucrative offer and he still fcd up for them.

    He is a patter merchant on par with Pards. He spreads BS like it is going out of style. Worse than even McClaren in that regard or even Ugly John Carver.

    His press conferences dont make any sense any more (if they ever did).

    His team selections and “tactics”, the same. No sense!

    Would I take Arrogant Alan over Bruce? No, I would take them both out and shoot them and appoint the tea lady.

    I dont even know if I would replace the cabbage with Graeme Jones either because I dont know what he has ever done to deserve the chance to manage NUFC.

    I would go for Duncan Ferguson.


  16. If your team’s fans are calling you a cabbage, and not for the 1st time you should be getting the message. Other names are Mrs Doubtfire and Bagpuss. All very disparaging and they have followed him around from job to job because he does a rinse and repeat at every place he goes. How does he keep getting jobs?

    I mean, he does the same thing everywhere he goes. Takes the Steves with him and blames everybody else for his, and their, shortcomings.

    But his pundit pals love him until the bitter end. They call the fans delusional. But ask the Mackems and Villa what he was like and about his derisory labelling of them as keyboard warriors and the like.

    When the glove fits you cannot acquit (to use an OJ trial analogy).

    Bruce Out!!!


  17. It will be criminal if Bruce doesn’t set us up to take advantage of Fulhams last two losses. Huge leg up from Leeds last night, we MUST help ourselves now.
    No playing for the draw, a win and a winning mentality is needed now .

    My team

    Manquillo Lascelles Clark Dummett

    Willock Hayden

    Murphy Joe/miggy ? Fraser

    Carroll/ Gayle ?

    I would only risk Miggy if 100%
    Think Carroll might be best up front as they have some tall lads


  18. Need our quickest players out there tonight, Shelvey and Hendricks just not quick enough , even Gayle looks low on pace but he could just have his bags packed ?


  19. Gayle will get you 10 goals in a PL season. That is what his record shows in terms of goals per minute. Joelinton gets you 1.5 goals per season.

    I dont know if we should extend his contract but I think we should try to keep him happy and “the best man manager who has ever walked the planet” seems not to be doing that.

    Funny all his Pals say he is a great man manager but he has obviously fallen out with the Longstaffs, Ritchie, Gayle, Darlow, Atsu, probably Carroll now. If not more.

    He seems to have a knack of dividing and creating cliques. It is not “divide and conquer” either. It is spiteful and “if you are not with me you are against me” mentality. That’s fine if you are Sir Alex Ferguson, but Bruce is no Sir Alex.


  20. Rob Lee says the way we are playing Jones way,he played that way at Luton and nearly took them down until he was sacked two false centre forwards???


  21. icedog:
    Rob Lee says the way we are playing Jones way,he played that way at Luton and nearly took them down until he was sacked two false centre forwards???

    Apparently he prefers the diamond system and stuck to it refusing to change when it no longer worked. Don’t know much about him really Ice, never really watched Luton, not sure we should be relying on him if Bruce got the sack.
    We are a mess, badly need 3 points today, get over that 30 mark and give us a little breathing space.
    If we won today, would 2 more wins be enough, i fear we need more than 36


  22. Ice – it’s all BS mate, we need to clear the lot out and get a proper manager in with their own coaching staff that are there because the manager knows and trusts them.

    This Jones love in from so many fans since he came in just baffles me.
    I don’t remember one person saying he was the man we needed to bring in – yet now there are so many fans who want him to take over Bruce.
    I get it’s more about wanting Bruce out than desperately wanting Jones in.
    But we should demand better than that, not settle for some cheap coach with a poor track record.

    For those that don’t know, Rob Lees son is at Luton, so he would be watching plenty of Luton. I may be slightly bias as Lee is one of my favourite toon players of my time supporting the club – but I reckon he knows what he’s talking about.


  23. I hate that I am torn about tonight.

    A win would obviously be huge in moving away from Fulham, whilst also pulling Brighton closer – it would be a huge 3 points towards survival.

    But the win would almost certainly see Bruce stay in place & there would be no change. If we stay up Bruce will almost certainly stay on & there would be no change.

    What do I want more, survival over change?!.


  24. I would consider playing 3-4-3 tonight.

    ——————— Dubravka ——————-
    ——- Lascelles – Clark – Dummett —
    Murphy ——————————- Fraser
    ————- Hayden —— Willock ———
    ——————— Almiron ——————-
    ——- Joelinton ———— Carroll ———

    I know playing 3 CBs is seen as negative, but I don’t think that 11 is.

    Murphy and Fraser can provide width & balls into the box for 2 big forwards. Willock can get forward and attack with Miggy & Hayden can drop in to provide defensive cover when Murphy & Fraser are pushing forward.

    Fraser & Murphy are better at corners & freekicks than Shelvey & with 3 big CBs, Carroll & Joelinton, that would improve our chances of scoring from those (or should).
    On the flip side – with so many bigger players, it should mean we defend their set pieces better too.


  25. Sharpy: Were’t we playing “two false 10s” before Jones arrived? Like everybody else I had really no idea who he was until he arrived. My gut has always told me it was taken out of Bruce’s hands and he had no say in the appointment of the “Assistant Head Coach” even though he has tried to say he did. And I have said from day 1 that Jones is the care-taker-in-waiting because it is obvious that all the Steves would leave together.

    I actually think we have played a bit better since Jones got here but Bruce still picks the team and I also think there is some internal politiking going on with Bruce re-asserting his dominance. He wants to show he is the alpha dog even though he had his nuts cut off by whoever brought in Jones. I have always thought it was Carr. Just a hunch.


  26. When looking at the team for a game I always try to think what Bruce will pick, not who I would choose. You have to get into that cesspool of a mind that has written 3 detective novels in his spare time. There is a website out there that posted extracts. You all should google it. It is truly frightening how bad they are and Bruce is obviously his own lead character.

    What it does do is give you an insight of the way he thinks. It is not good for NUFC fans.


  27. The reason I think it is Carr who brought in Jones is because Ashley basically gave him and Charnley the keys to NUFC once before. They disastrously hired McClaren who had just been let go by Derby but they did spend some money on the likes of MBemba and Mitro and later Shelvey and Townsend. It was Rafa who forced Carr out which is why I still think he might be involved now.


  28. Sharpy, i just want us to stay up mate, we can worry about Bruce later. Once fans are let back in, it will be torture for him.
    Too late to change coach now anyway imo, Ashley always leaves it too late.


  29. WTF is this myth about Bruce’s teams finding a way to win? Potter talked it up but the Bruce win % since Xmas 2019 is 24%. In the PL he has managed 500 games and it is 28%.

    I know all of these managers like to say good things about the opposition but there is also REALITY.


  30. The cabbage has relegated Birmingham and Hull and it would have been the Mackems as well if they hadnt sacked him first. That is the reality. I dont blame Graham Potter though as that is what mangers do, they dont want to give the other team reasons to get mad.

    I do blame the pundits though when they spout the same shyte. Believing Bruce’s lies and passing them on because he is such a great guy and a great man manager. Fraud, Fake, Charlatan, Huckster, FatBoy, Snake Oil Salesman!!!! Would be better for us all if he just sold double glazing with his pathetic patter.


  31. How do these journalists have a job!!!

    I am sitting here 4,000 miles away and said Almiron and Manquillo would start days ago.

    I also said Bruce would start Donkey.


  32. Miggy starts. Gives us a better chance even though it’s minuscule. He’s probably come back too soon and will get injured. Typical Bruce.

    5/1 for Toon win. Outrageous!


  33. What does Murphy need to do to start? I’d have started with Carroll and Murphy to get a decent start 😂😂 sorry, decent start is a joke!


  34. Three wingers as out front 3. No striker. But 2 strikers on the bench! 🤬🤬🤬🤬


  35. Stuart79:
    Miggy starts. Gives us a better chance even though it’s minuscule. He’s probably come back too soon and will get injured. Typical Bruce.

    Stu: I said from the off that Bruce was scaremongering over Miggy. He was on a treadmill 2 days after his injury so it was obviously a bruise and not ligaments.


  36. So Jones is in the tech area with Agnew.

    Too many cooks?

    I am sure the players must be confused a bit now.


  37. We have been a bit lucky so far with Brighton passing around us a bit.

    Miggy looks totally fit though.


  38. 23 mins. Is donkey even on the pitch? Bruce likes to use him as the out ball but that hasnt happened. Dwight is better at chasing players don which is what we have to do in this game coz B’ton are passing it around us.


  39. And Shelvey is being anonymous as well.

    Who would have guessed that Shelvey and Donkey would be ineffective against Brighton.

    Shelvey and Donkey, sounds like a 1970s buddy cop drama in the US.


  40. Mark Douglas
    The “big, high” expectations of going to – checks notes – Brighton and breaking 25% possession.

    83 passes to Brighton’s 243… #nufc

    Embarrassing this


  41. Awful awful awful watch this like & Bruce is pacing round sh!t scared of losing the game – and rightly so when he’s set his team up again to just try not to lose it.

    I want him gone – if that means getting beat tonight then so be it.


  42. What a fuc.king shocking first half… another serious injury and 1-0 down. Dreadful. When i look at how Fulham fought last night.. this is god awful 🤬🤬🤬🤬


  43. Just so bad.. not one shot at goal from us. Shelvey missing, joe let’s the ball bounce off him a couple of times and rest are headless chickens.


  44. Did you see how many cooks were spoiling the broth in the tech area. Three Steves and a Graeme. I really think they are confusing the players, and have done even before Jones arrived.


  45. Let’s see what the masterplan is for the 2nd half. Big Fat Sam lump-it ball would be our best bet as we are boing played around as it is now.

    Nobody has played well for us but you cannot persist with Donkey as he offers nothing. Has he even been in their box in 45 mins? He is supposed to be a striker FFS.

    Not all his fault, but he offers nothing.


  46. Fck me. Almiron is not a number 9 either, false or otherwise. He is a number 10. Tata Martinez at Atlanta had him playing WITH a striker not AS as a striker. You know Tata Martinez, ex Barca Manager, not ex Hull and Wigan and Mackems.

    But then we almost score 🙂


  47. 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬


  48. Scores on the doors… -5 for everyone. Can I give negative scores? Dreadful pile of We are down. Derby games to lose next season..


  49. That’s 6-0 on aggregate to the might Brighton.

    Oh I can’t wait to hear Bruce …

    Hayden injury unsettled players.

    Brighton scored in the injury time coz of Hayden.

    Had Fraser scored to make it 1-1 it could have changed the game.

    Welbeck scored mins after Fraser hit the post – our season has hinged on fine margins like that … BUT THERE WERE POSITIVES.

    We are missing key players.


  50. Bruce has managed to fall out with:

    the players

    the written press

    the fans

    Great man management there Steve. It is you and your puppy-dog Steves on an island now and some of your dinner circuit and golfer suck-up ex-player Pals now. Left alone with nowhere to turn except to sit on the Sky Couch of failed managers like Souness, Keane, Nevilles (x2) and McClaren. BFS will be joining you there soon as well.


  51. Jeff Stelling
    Ok Newcastle fans please don’t hammer me. But NOW I think I understand!


  52. I think I am more mad at the pundits than Bruce. They have been telling us for so long how good of a job he was doing while we saw it with our own eyes how abysmal we were playing and how we managed to get points by shear luck and our goalkeepers.

    I had said at Xmas 2019 he would take us down this year but getting Fraser and Wilson gave me false hope. Bruce is a fraud and a liar.



  53. Squawka Football
    Joelinton for Newcastle vs. Brighton:

    90 minutes played
    15 times possession lost
    1 touch in opposition box
    0 shots
    0 chances created


  54. That ranks along with the Sheffield United game. Awful. No heart, no passion, they just couldn’t care less. And cabbage head continually picking Shelvey and Joelinton and putting hendrick in… no strikers aaagggghhh 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬


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