Newcastle welcome Everton to St James’ Park today at 2pm, where Steve Bruce’s side will be searching for their first win in a few games having suffered a 4-1 defeat to Manchester United before drawing to Wolves.
In the Toffees’ case, they are flying under Carlo Ancelotti. Everton have won four of their six Premier League games this season, losing just once, and sat top of the table going into the weekend’s action.
The Magpies will have to bring their A-game if they’re to get anything from the in-form Merseysiders.
Here’s the XI we think Bruce should deploy to take on Ancelotti’s impressive side…
Jamaal Lascelles out, Jacob Murphy remains
Bruce confirmed in his press conference that Jamaal Lascelles is a major doubt for the game with a foot problem. As a result, we think the ex-Sunderland boss should rest the former Nottingham Forest centre-back, who earns £40,000-a-week at St James Park (Spotrac).
As a consequence of that injury, we think Newcastle should revert to a back four with Federico Fernandez and Fabian Schar in the centre, while £12 million man Jacob Murphy remains after his point-winning freekick last week.
Jonjo Shelvey absent, Isaac Hayden steps in
Bruce also confirmed that Jonjo Shelvey will be missing for a few weeks with a hernia problem. However, the Magpies boss did say that Isaac Hayden was ‘fine’, so we think it’ll be a straight swap in midfield.
Callum Wilson leads the line
As WhoScored shows, Callum Wilson led the line with Allan Saint-Maximin last week, which didn’t really work.
As a result, Bruce should restore the ex-Bournemouth man as a lone striker, and have Saint-Maximin and Ryan Fraser supporting him on the flanks ahead of a midfield three of Hayden, Jeff Hendrick and Sean Longstaff.
Predicted lineup: Darlow; Murphy, Schar, Fernandez, Lewis; Hayden, Hendrick, Longstaff; Saint-Maximin, Fraser, Wilson.