Newcastle desperately need a win to kick the Steve Bruce era into life, but unfortunately a trip to Tottenham awaits.
The Magpies head to Spurs’ shiny new stadium for the first time, going in search of their first Premier League points of the season.
Despite this only being game three, Bruce is under real pressure. The performance against Norwich was nowhere near good enough, and even if we don’t win, Newcastle need to show they can still compete and care about the badge.
But how should Bruce lineup as he attempts to take points from one of the best sides in the country?
Three centre-backs remain, but Manquillo should return
Bruce confirmed ahead of the game that it’s ‘too early to change formations’, suggesting he won’t be tinkering with his setup at the back.
The three centre-backs should remain, but we need to be a lot more solid against Spurs. Fabian Schar, in particular, needs to improve massively.
But there should be a change out wide. Emil Krafth really struggled on his debut at Carrow Road, and should be replaced by Javi Manquillo. The Spaniard was unlucky to be dropped last time out, and deserves another chance ahead of the new recruit.
Longstaff back in for Ki
Sean Longstaff dropped to the bench last week, but was a real miss in the centre of the park.
His replacement Ki Sung-Yueng barely got a touch in the first half and looked like a total passenger. Newcastle can’t afford to be carrying players, so Longstaff should return to the starting XI in Ki’s place.
He’ll play alongside Isaac Hayden and Jonjo Shelvey. The latter needs to get on the ball more and influence proceedings in the right areas. If that means he pushes further up and Hayden and Longstaff sit in, then so be it. Shelvey is a massive talent, but if things aren’t going his way, he’s a hindrance.
Can Almiron and Joelinton get off the mark?
After picking up an injury last week, Joelinton will be fit to play on Sunday. The Brazilian got some harsh criticism after the Norwich game, and needs more support against Spurs.
We need to get players closer to Joelinton as he was far too isolated last time out. Miguel Almiron has really struggled in his new role, and also needs more support from midfield.
When Almiron gets on the ball, it’s his job to make something happen. But he needs players around him to do that.
Predicted lineup to face Spurs: Dubravka; Schar, Lascelles, Dummett; Manquillo, Hayden, Shelvey, Longstaff, Ritchie; Almiron, Joelinton.