Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United side host Leicester City at St. James’ Park in the 14:15 kick-off this afternoon, with the Magpies looking to continue their recent ascent up the Premier League table against a similarly resurgent Foxes outfit.
Indeed, despite losing three of their last five league outings, Newcastle have picked up an incredibly impressive 23 points over their 12 top-flight fixtures in 2022 – a return only bettered by Wolverhampton Wanderers, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool.
Meanwhile, following an extremely poor first half of the season, Leicester are currently on a run of five games without defeat in all competitions, with three of these coming as victories.
As such, the encounter between the two sides this afternoon certainly promises to be an exciting affair, with a victory for the Geordies potentially closing the gap to their ninth-placed opponents to just three points.
So, will Howe make any changes to the side that started the 1-0 win over Wolves last time out? Here’s how we think Newcastle could line up against Leicester, along with the latest team and injury news…
With BBC Sport recently reporting that Ryan Fraser looks set to miss out after picking up a hamstring injury last time out, as well as revealing that Joe Willock could be in line for a return to the XI despite nursing an ongoing knee issue, we predict that Howe will make two changes to the team that started against Wolves.
The back five remains unchanged, with Martin Dubravka starting between the sticks, while Matt Targett, Dan Burn, Fabian Schar and Emil Krafth make up the Magpies’ defensive quartet.
In the middle of the park, the £80k-per-week Joelinton – who journalist Aaron Stokes dubbed an “absolute monster” – makes way for the returning £25m summer signing Willock – who Steve Bruce dubbed a “remarkable” talent – with Jonjo Shelvey and Bruno Guimaraes keeping their starting berths.
In attack, Allan Saint-Maximin once again starts on the left and Chris Wood is deployed up top, while the second change comes on the right flank – with the injured Fraser being replaced by Paraguay international Miguel Almiron.