This is the team we think Steve Bruce will name for tomorrow’s match at St James Park against Chelsea. It has four changes from the defeat at Southampton.
Hopefully, Bruce will play it safe and not risk Callum Wilson, Jonjo Shelvey, or Matt Ritchie. Our team is predicated on that assumption. There’s also a good probability that he stays with three men at the back with wingbacks.
There’s a good chance both Ciaran Clark and Matty Longstaff come into Bruce’s thinking for this one. Clark was a late call up for the Republic of Ireland but did not feature.
He was outstanding when fit last season on the left side of the back three. Fabian Schar gets dropped to make way for the 31-year-old. The other defenders keep their place with Jamal Lewis and Jacob Murphy returning to the flanks.
The midfield sees two changes with Bruce bringing Isaac Hayden back into the defensive midfield role and Matty Longstaff replacing his brother Sean in midfield. Bruce has to drop Jeff Hendrick at some point as he’s just not produced the goods of late. It’s a tough call on Sean but Matty is really desperate for game time.
We could see Miguel Almiron left out with him only returning to Newcastle late Thursday. However, he didn’t play for Paraguay against Bolivia on Tuesday so we’re edging toward him getting another start.
Upfront, Allan Saint-Maximin stays as the number 10, though he really hasn’t impressed there over the past three matches. Joelinton gets the call over Andy Carroll as he is more versatile if changes need to be made on the fly.