Newcastle’s first game after the humiliation at Leicester is a home clash with Manchester United.
A game littered with history in the Premier League era, it’s a great chance for Steve Bruce to relieve the pressure on his shoulders. The Red Devils are out of form and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is having to deal with his own pressure.
But what changes should Bruce make to try and get a result against Manchester United?
Willems returns with a change in formation
Against Leicester, the Magpies deployed a back four with Jetro Willems out injured. But Bruce confirmed ahead of the game that he’s “got practically everybody OK”.
Bruce should revert to the wing-back system he had been using, pushing Paul Dummett back into centre-back. He’s much more effective there, and Willems offers more attacking threat too.
Ki or Matty Longstaff?
Isaac Hayden’s suspension presents a difficult decision for Bruce. Should he go with the experienced Ki Sung-Yueng or hand Matty Longstaff his debut?
While Ki has struggled, it would be a shock to see Longstaff thrown in at the deep end. The best he can probably hope for is some minutes off the bench.
Saint-Maximin must start
We didn’t see Allan Saint-Maximin against Leicester, and the Frenchman must start against Manchester United.
We need a spark of creativity, and ASM brings exactly that. He got the crowd up with his dribbling against Brighton and he could certainly cause Solskjaer’s defence problems.
Saint-Maximin needs to start, and it needs to be alongside Miguel Almiron. Christian Atsu is the man who should drop to the bench.
Bruce needs a result and offensively we’ve been weak. He must choose his strongest front three and start ASM and Almiron either side of Joelinton.
Predicted lineup to face Manchester United: Dubravka; Schar, Lascelles, Dummett; Krafth, Ki, Longstaff, Willems, Saint-Maximin, Almiron, Joelinton.