Newcastle host Tottenham at St. James’ Park today in what could be Steve Bruce’s final match in charge of the club following the takeover by PIF.
This should not detract from the special achievement that this game brings Bruce, as it will be his 1000th match in management. Irrespective of what the fans may or may not think about his time at the club, he should be praised for reaching this milestone and will, hopefully, mark it with a win.
The Magpies head into this match off the back of a 2-1 defeat to Wolves in the top-flight. How many changes will Bruce make from the team that lost to Bruno Lage’s side? Here is our predicted XI…
We are predicting that he will make three changes to the side, along with moving to a back-three/back-five formation to face Spurs.
First of all, the formation could alter to deal with the attacking threat Tottenham pose. Nuno Santo’s side could line up with Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane up top, with the pair managing 40 goals and 24 assists between them in the Premier League last season.
This means that a wide player must be cut from the side to bring in another centre-back. With Miguel Almiron having been away on international duty in South America, we are predicting that he will be given a rest and Jamaal Lascelles will return from injury to start in the middle of the defence.
In midfield, Sean Longstaff could be axed from the team to make way for Jeff Hendrick. The £18k-per-week beast could be sacrificed in order to get the Irish midfielder in, as Hendrick scored against Wolves and may have played his way into a starting role. Longstaff lost ten of his 14 duels against Wolves and was dribbled past an unbelievable seven times, suggesting that he deserves to drop to the bench.
Finally, we think that Bruce will go with Callum Wilson up front alongside Saint-Maximin, with Joelinton coming out of the team. The striker is back from injury after scoring two goals in his first three appearances of the season, having netted 12 goals in 23 starts last term in the top-flight – showing that he has the quality to find the back of the net at this level.