Ahead of tonight’s meeting with Manchester City, it’s time to predict the side Steve Bruce will go with against the newly crowned Champions.
Keeping form, fitness, suspensions and last week’s superb win at Leicester in mind, here’s the 11 we can see starting come 8pm tonight.
(5-3-2): Dubravka – Murphy, Krafth, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie – Willock, Shelvey (c), Almiron – Saint-Maximin, Joelinton.
OUT, Wilson – IN, Joelinton?
I would’ve loved to see Wilson push for an England recall and Elliot Anderson get his Premier League debut now we’re finally safe, however it seems injuries will see both sit out this one.
Bruce has three dilemmas for me. Who starts up top out of Joelinton, Carroll and Gayle? Does he stick with Krafth in defence now Clark is fit again? And, does he go with the same attacking midfield trio that won at Leicester or bring Sean Longstaff back?
Starting in attack, I see Joelinton replacing Wilson, with the Brazilian scoring two goals in his last three games before he was dropped. Carroll and Gayle will want minutes – the latter will want to prove he’s worth a new deal and the latter a chance to get back in Bruce’s plans when Wilson is out – however I can see our £40m man coming back in.
In midfield, this is a game that could benefit from the energy both Longstaff brothers are able to offer, but will Bruce change from midfield that did so well against Leicester? I doubt it.
Krafth is not a centre-back, so starting him against City is a risk, however he did pretty well at Leicester last week, not to mention the fact Clark has looked anything but comfortable since playing in the middle of a back three – not down the left. As a result, I reckon Bruce will reward the Swede with another start.
I can see Lewis getting some minutes in the final few games to boost his visibly low confidence levels, however Man City at home could do more damage than goo for a player who’s not kicked a ball since our 1-1 draw with Wolves in February.
How do you see us lining up later on? Let us know in the comments section!