What a week it’s been for Newcastle, who followed a 3-0 win at Old Trafford by becoming the first Premier League side to beat Arsenal this season in another memorable match under the lights at St James’ Park.
It was an incredible effort from all involved and a display full of fight, organisation and hard work, where Arsenal picked a fight they couldn’t win in front of 50,000 Geordies.
So, while Arteta throws his toys out of the pram, Arsenal release statements and their fans continue to moan on social media, we move on to Borussia Dortmund in what looks to be our biggest game yet in Group F.
Every Champions League game is huge, but it feels like we must get a result in this one after losing at home to the Germans two weeks ago. With PSG away to come after our we travel to the Westfalenstadion, it would be our most important win of the season yet if we can break down the yellow wall and come away with three points.
Speaking ahead of the game, Howe said – “Looking back to the game against Dortmund was a useful exercise, but they may change the way they play and we may change the way we play. I think it was two evenly balanced teams going against each other – that game could have gone either way. I hope we can get the fine margins on our side this time.”
Dan Burn (back) has been ruled out for “a couple of months”, with Matt Targett (hamstring) expected to be out for “around three months – two “huge blows” for Eddie Howe and an already threadbare squad.
Elsewhere, we’ll be without Alexander Isak (groin), Jacob Murphy (dislocated shoulder), Elliot Anderson (back), Sven Botman (knee), Sandro Tonali (suspension)), Harvey Barnes (foot) and Javier Manquillo (groin).
For Dortmund, Emre Can is facing a late fitness test along with left-back Ramy Bensebaini, with Edin Terzić confirming the latter suffered a thigh injury last week.
Predicted line ups
(4-3-3): Pope – Livramento, Lascelles, Schar, Trippier – Longstaff, Bruno, Willock – Almiron, Gordon, Joelinton.
Keeping in mind our long injury list, we’ll forced into a defensive reshuffle now Burn is sidelines until the new year.
Livramento has been outstanding each and every time he’s come in at right-back and deserves his chance, while Trippier is more than capable of slotting in at left-back.
In midfield, I think we’ll see Willock come in alongside Bruno and Longstaff for a few reasons. He didn’t start on Saturday and was sensational in transition at Old Trafford, so his pace, dynamism and threat on the break could be key against a Dortmund side we struggled to break down last time out.
Willock also combines superbly with Joelinton, who I can see starting down the left, with Gordon playing in a false nine role. Benching Wilson won’t sit well with some, but I believe Gordon’s pace, movement and energy could cause havoc on the counter, as it did at Man Utd and in the second half on Saturday.
Dortmund were battered 4-0 by Bayern Munich on Saturday and a Bundesliga reporter I spoke to on Monday said it could’ve been more. So, their bubble has been burst slightly, all while we’ve responded with impressive wins (to nil) against Man Utd and Arsenal.
We have drawn 2-2 in two of our last three away games and I think we might see the same here. Gordon and Willock to cause chaos on the counter in an all-action game of goals.
NUFC Blog prediction: Dortmund 2-2 Newcastle