We see Steve Bruce making three forced changes from last Sunday’s win against Tottenham. We have Christian Atsu starting for the injured Allan Saint-Maximin at left-wing. The two other changes are at the full-back positions with Jetro Willems coming in for Matt Ritchie and Javier Manquillo getting the nod over Emil Krafth.
Steve Bruce has been somewhat coy during his press conferences, and we think that is the case with some of the reported doubts for tomorrow’s match. While we do believe that Jetro Willems, Emil Krafth, and Miguel Almiron are carrying knocks, they don’t appear to be serious enough for them to miss out tomorrow.
In the case of Willems, Steve Bruce has limited options on the left, so we feel that he will start tomorrow. We think Emil Krafth will also pass a late fitness test. However, Bruce may give Javier Manquillo the nod just to be safe. Krafth should be available from the bench.
The rest of the side will be unchanged, and the formation will remain the same 5-4-1 that Bruce has used in the last two matches. The only thing that gives us pause is this is somewhat predictable, and Bruce has been unpredictable so far in his team selection.
We would not be shocked if Muto started this game on the left in place of Atsu. With the marauding Willems down that flank, Muto can play on the left as an inverted winger. It may be an option that Bruce looks into to get more attacking options in the box, especially as this game is at home.
The bench will again have limited options in attack again and could look like this:
Karl Darlow, Ciaran Clark, Federico Fernandez, Emil Krafth, Jonjo Shelvey, Ki Sung-yueng, and Yoshinori Muto.