Newcastle United play host to league-leaders Manchester City at St. James’ Park on Sunday as they look to add to their points tally.
The Magpies are 19th in the table and have only amassed 10 points from their first 17 games, winning once in the Premier League.
Eddie Howe’s team come into this clash off the back of a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool, but how many changes will he make to the team? Here is our predicted XI…
We are predicting that he will make four alterations to the side, with Matt Ritchie, Miguel Almiron, Joe Willock and Callum Wilson all coming in.
Starting off at left-back, Ritchie could replace the injured Jamal Lewis at left-back. The Northern Ireland international came off in the first-half against Liverpool, with Howe explaining:
“It’s a hamstring injury, which is a surprise with Jamal because he’s obviously so athletic.
“He’s been excellent in terms of his athletic work for us so far, so for that to happen so early in the game, I was surprised.”
In the middle of the park, Joe Willock could come in to complete a three-man central midfield combination. This would see Joelinton move into a wide left position and leave Ryan Fraser to be axed from the team, after he lost five of his eight duels and completed just 53% of his passes against Liverpool.
His poor display could now see him cut from the XI, with Willock able to start alongside Isaac Hayden and Jonjo Shelvey in an attempt to stifle Man City through the middle.
On the right, Miguel Almiron could start ahead of Jacob Murphy. The £74k-per-week gem has averaged 2.6 tackles and interceptions per game as a winger this season, suggesting that his defensive work rate could help the Magpies to defend against Man City’s threats from out wide. It may be harsh on the former Norwich winger, but rest and rotation could be important in this busy schedule of fixtures over the winter period.
We published an article explaining why Callum Wilson should return to the starting XI after being rested against the Reds. Howe stated his reasoning for benching the forward after the game, saying:
“We just felt it was the moment when we could give Callum a rest. I know important he is for the team and the club, and it was just a case of trying to manage his minutes.”
Allan Saint-Maximin is an injury doubt for this match and the ex-Bournemouth forward could slot straight into the team in place of the Frenchman at the tip of the attack.