Newcastle United v 1860 Munich: Pre-Season Friendly
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Sven Botman debut: Predicted Newcastle lineup to face Nottingham Forest

The Premier League is back, and Newcastle United are going to face Nottingham Forest to kick off the new season.

Eddie Howe’s side face a tricky opening day fixture, welcoming the newly promoted side to St James’ Park.

However, Toon confidence will be high after the second half of last season, in which we performed brilliantly at home.

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Howe will be keen to carry on the feelgood factor on Tyneside, and start the new season by putting three points on the board. The manager has some big decisions to make though when deciding who should start on Saturday.

With that in mind, here is our predicted Newcastle lineup to face Nottingham Forest

Nick Pope starts ahead of Martin Dubravka

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Howe’s first big call is who should start in goal, and we expect the summer signing to get the nod. Pope arrived earlier in the summer for £10million from Burnley, and is surely going to be Howe’s number one.

It’s a blow for Martin Dubravka, who might start considering his future at St James’ Park.

But Pope will be keen to get off to a good start, especially with former Toon target Dean Henderson starting at the opposite end.

Sven Botman makes his debut

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The next big decision Howe needs to make his who starts at centre-back. Fabian Schar and Dan Burn played brilliantly last season, and it would be unfair to split them up.

But Botman has looked really good in pre-season, particularly with his ability to start attacks from the back. He should therefore start alongside Schar.

It’s harsh on Burn, but his time will come later in the season.

Also in defence should be Kieran Trippier with the captain’s armband, and the returning Matt Targett.

Shelvey injury hands Willock the chance

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Howe will likely continue with his preferred 4-3-3 formation, and Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton feel nailed on to start.

That means one more place is available, but it won’t belong to Jonjo Shelvey. That’s because the midfielder is out injured after limping off against Benfica.

There are three candidates to play in the middle: Joe Willock, Sean Longstaff and Elliot Anderson.

A lot of fans will be keen to see Anderson start, but we believe it will be Willock who Howe goes with. He’s had a decent pre-season, and his energy will be important against Steve Cooper’s boys.

Almiron to continue pre-season form

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No attacking signings have arrived yet, but Newcastle do have an in-form Miguel Almiron. He has been red hot in pre-season, scoring six goals.

Hopefully he can take that form into the Premier League, in what could be a breakout year for the Paraguayan.

He will be joined by Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin in attack, our two most deadly players.

Predicted XI to face Forest: Pope; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Targett; Almiron, Willock, Bruno, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin; Wilson.

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