Finally, Newcastle United are back in action!
The Magpies take on Sheffield United at St James’ Park, as Premier League football returns.
Chris Wilder’s side will likely be looking for blood, angered by the goal that wasn’t given against Aston Villa. Combine that with Jonjo Shelvey’s controversial goal at Bramall Lane earlier in the season and this could be a tasty affair.
But what starting lineup will Steve Bruce go with for the first game back?
A fit Martin Dubravka
In our last game, Martin Dubravka picked up a knee injury which was set to rule him out of action for a while.
Fortunately for him, no football was played, meaning he won’t miss a single game because of the knock he picked up at Southampton.
This is huge for Newcastle. Dubravka has won us points on his own this season, and with all due respect to Karl Darlow, the backup stopper doesn’t instil as much confidence.
Fernandez to partner Lascelles
Newcastle have a lot of options at the heart of defence, but only two can play if Bruce continues with the system he was using before lockdown.
If that’s the case, Federico Fernandez and Jamaal Lascelles is our strongest pair. With a lot of games still to be played, the likes of Fabian Schar and Florian Lejeune will get their chance, but Bruce has to go with his strongest duo against Sheffield United.
They will likely be flanked by Javi Manquillo and Danny Rose, with the latter agreeing a deal to extend his loan spell until the end of the new season.
Lazaro on the right
Bruce confirmed before the game that Matt Ritchie is an injury doubt. Therefore it seems all but certain that Valentino Lazaro will start on the right wing.
The Austrian has shown flashes of talent since his arrival from Inter Milan, but will need to really impress if he wants to be a permanent Magpie.
The time is now for Joelinton
Things haven’t gone right for the Brazilian so far. But maybe taking away the pressure of a crowd could help him.
Joelinton scored in the friendly win against Middlesbrough, and he’ll be praying he can take that form into the Premier League, where sadly he only has one goal.
Providing the ammunition alongside Lazaro will be fan favourites Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin.
Predicted lineup: Dubravka; Manquillo, Fernandez, Lascelles, Rose; Shelvey, Hayden; Lazaro, Almiron, Saint-Maximin; Joelinton.