Newcastle United are set to face off against Norwich City in a gigantic game at the bottom of the Premier League table tonight.
The two clubs are currently in 20th and 19th respectively, with a win for the Canaries potentially taking them level with 17th and three points for the Magpies taking them above their opponents.
Eddie Howe’s first game in charge of the club, after watching on from isolation against Brentford, ended in a 2-0 win for Arsenal at The Emirates at the weekend.
How many changes will he make to the team? Here is our predicted XI…
We are predicting that he will make four alterations, with Javier Manquillo, Ciaran Clark, Jamal Lewis and Isaac Hayden coming in.
Firstly, we are predicting a change in formation from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3. This should not be viewed as a move to become defensive and prevent expansive football from being played, but instead as a way of providing the likes of Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson with a secure platform to build from in the final third.
Manquillo could get the nod at right-back ahead of Emil Krafth to freshen the side up. The £37k-per-week Swedish dud has averaged a disappointing SofaScore rating of 6.63 in the Premier League and could be axed from the XI to make way for the Spaniard as a simple form of rotation. Although, Jacob Murphy may be pushing hard to start in that position alongside the pair.
At left-back, Lewis could replace the suspended Matt Ritchie. FFC published an article detailing why the Northern Ireland international should be unleashed to replace the Scot, with the defender having a point to prove to both Howe and his former club Norwich.
Another player who will be forced to watch on from the sidelines is centre-back and captain Jamaal Lascelles, as he picked up a fifth booking at the weekend. Clark has started 10 Premier League matches this season and we predict that Howe will go with him due to his recent experience in the division, instead of bringing a player in from the cold to partner Fabian Schar.
FFC previously explained why Joelinton should be axed from the XI. We highlighted that the lightweight may let the Magpies down in a physical battle with the Canaries, which is partly why we are predicting that he will be replaced to facilitate the change in formation – with Hayden coming in. The ex-Arsenal enforcer could sit at the base of the midfield and cut out Norwich attacks alongside Jonjo Shelvey and Joe Willock.