After another underwhelming performance, Steve Bruce takes his Newcastle side down south to face West Ham.
The Hammers are currently 10th, four points better off than the Magpies. Other than the win at Tottenham, Newcastle have really struggled away from home. We’ve had mixed fortunes at the London Stadium, with a win and a loss since West Ham left the Boleyn Ground.
Bruce needs a lift from somewhere, so should he shuffle his pack against Manuel Pellegrini’s side?
No change at the back
Despite Martin Dubravka’s error, he’ll certainly keep his place in goal.
And there’ll unlikely be any changes in defence either. Fabian Schar is still injured, while the game comes too early for Florian Lejeune and Matt Ritchie.
That means Federico Fernandez will continue at the back, having done alright against Wolves.
Massive chance for Shelvey
Sean Longstaff’s suspension means there’ll be at least one change in midfield. And Jonjo Shelvey should get a chance.
We’ve been poor on the ball, unable to carve out opportunities. That’s something Shelvey is capable of. It would be a risk, but one worth taking for Bruce who desperately needs a result.
Sadly, younger Longstaff Matty should also drop out, making way for the more experienced Isaac Hayden. Matty is a massive talent, and his chance will come again.
But Hayden is back from suspension, and should be one of the first names on the teamsheet.
Gayle in, Joelinton out
It might be time to take Joelinton out of the firing line.
The Brazilian was poor last time out, although he was offered little to no support up top once again. But he’s received a lot of criticism, so Bruce should take him out of the firing line.
Enter Dwight Gayle. The forward has made two substitute appearances so far, and offers us something different with his pace and movement.
Hopefully he and Shelvey can showcase the chemistry they had in the Championship and our first season back in the top flight. If they do, we might be able to get a result.
Predicted lineup to face West Ham: Dubravka; Fernandez, Lascelles, Clark; Yedlin, Shelvey, Longstaff, Willems; Saint-Maximin, Gayle, Almiron.