After disappointment in Dortmund, Eddie Howe’s injury and suspension-hit Mags are back in Premier League action this weekend, where a trip to Bournemouth awaits in our final game before the international break.
We may be left with a mountain to climb in Group F, but we’re going brilliantly in the Premier League. Last weekend’s 1-0 win over Arsenal was our fifth victory in our last seven league games – in that time, we’ve kept five clean sheets and scored 20 goals, sending us in touching distance of the top four.
So many of our league rivals have winnable home games this week – Arsenal face Burnley, Aston Villa take on Fulham, Liverpool host Brentford, Brighton play Sheffield United and Man Utd face Luton – so it’s another important weekend in our bid to close the gap and keep the momentum going ahead of a much-needed break.
Callum Wilson (tight hamstring) is facing a late fitness test, but TEN have been ruled out – Bruno Guimaraes (suspended) Alexander Isak (groin), Sven Botman (knee), Dan Burn (back), Elliot Anderson (back), Jacob Murphy (shoulder), Matt Targett (hamstring), Sandro Tonali (banned) and Javier Manquillo (groin).
For the visitors, £25m summer signing Alex Scott is out with a knee injury along with former Leeds midfielder Tyler Adams.
Predicted line ups
(4-3-3): Pope – Trippier, Lascelles, Schar, Hall – Longstaff, Joelinton, Willock – Livramento, Gordon, Almiron.
A lot will depend on whether or not Wilson passes a late fitness test. Personally I will be surprised if Howe risks him. While Isak is out, he is needed up top and our only other out and out striker, but it would be a big gamble to play someone with his history of hamstring injuries ahead of a hectic run of fixtures between now and the New Year.
With this in mind, I think we’ll see Gordon as a false nine, Almiron on the left, Livramento on the right, a midfield trio of Longstaff, Joelinton and Willock, with Trippier and Hall at full-back and Lascelles alongside Schar at centre-back.
Starting Willock twice in a week may not be an option after his recent return from a long-term injury, meaning Miley or Hall could be used in midfield. If that happens, Livramento could move back to full-back and Joelinton into a more attacking role out wide.
Bournemouth were fortunate to beat Burnley in their last home game, giving them their only win of the season so far. They were then battered 6-1 by Man City last weekend and face a Newcastle team who’ve won five and drawn two of their last seven league games.
We may have injuries an suspensions to cope with, but I think we’ll have enough to win this, with or without Wilson. Miggy to score in a tight but precious win for the Toon!
NUFC Blog prediction: Bournemouth 1-2 Newcastle