Newcastle United return to action today as they travel away from home to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea in the Premier League.
The Magpies won 2-1 against Southampton last time out to extend their unbeaten run in the division to nine matches. Chris Wood and Bruno Guimaraes both scored their first goals for the club to seal the three points and now they come up against the champions of Europe.
Eddie Howe will surely be keen to hit ten games without a loss in the Premier League, but will he alter his line-up from the one that beat the Saints?
Here is our predicted XI…
Dubravka, Manquillo, Schar, Burn, Targett, Guimaraes, Shelvey, Joelinon, Fraser, Almiron, Wood (4-3-3)
We are predicting that he will make three alterations to the side, with Javier Manquillo, Joelinton and Miguel Almiron coming in.
Emil Krafth sustained an injury at St. Mary’s on Thursday night and his unavailability would open up a spot at right-back in the XI. If he misses out, Manquillo is the only natural right-back left in the senior squad and he would, therefore, be the logical option to start in the back four.
In midfield, we are predicting that Joelinton will make his return from injury. The £80k-per-week colossus missed out against Southampton and could now come in for Joe Willock after the ex-Arsenal man’s underwhelming showing in midweek.
As per SofaScore, he lost seven individual duels and was dribbled past three times. He also missed a ‘big chance’ and Howe may look to his Brazilian teammate’s physical strength to replace him. Joelinton has won 7.7 duels per game, whilst making 3.4 tackles and interceptions per match, this season and his work rate will be key to stopping the likes of Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho.
Finally, Jacob Murphy could make way for Almiron on the right. FFC published an article explaining why the former must be axed from the XI and we are predicting Howe to take him out of the team for this clash with Chelsea.
Martin Keown dubbed him “annoying” after, what he deemed to be, a dive in a Premier League match against Aston Villa previously. Replacing him, Almiron could offer defensive quality and work rate on the flank to deal with Chelsea’s attacking threat. He has averaged 2.2 tackles and interceptions per game and this shows that he likes to get stuck in against the ball.
We are predicting that the rest of the team from the one that played against Southampton will remain the same.