Steve Bruce made quite a few changes to his team in the defeat at Arsenal yesterday, 7 to be exact. He had hinted prior to the match that he would shake up the team with so many players in need of a game.
Jamaal Lascelles returned after his struggles with the after-effects of Covid. The captain hadn’t played since the defeat to Chelsea in November. Bruce included him in the starting eleven, however, Jamaal only lasted until halftime before being replaced by Matt Ritchie.
Thankfully, it was just fatigue that forced Lascelles off early. That is to be expected after what he’s been through. Bruce spoke a little about Jamaal after the match saying the following per the club’s Twitter account:
“He came off because of fatigue. With all the problems we’ve got, we left a few at home, and hopefully, they’ll be ready for Tuesday and we can freshen up the team.”
Bruce could name only seven on the bench as both Callum Wilson and Jonjo Shelvey were sent home as a precaution. Some of the Magpies who didn’t make the trip were Fede Fernandez, Fabian Schar, and Javier Manquillo. Both Fernandez and Schar were due for a rest as was Matty Longstaff, who made the bench but didn’t feature.
In addition, there were three players ruled out in Jamal Lewis, Ryan Fraser, and Allan Saint-Maximin. It’ll be at least a few weeks before Saint-Maximin is able to return as he’s yet to get back to training after suffering from long Covid.
Ryan Fraser is back in group training after his groin problem while Jamal Lewis is still nursing a minor knee injury. We’ll see how they get on this week and if they can at least be ready for Monday’s return to face Arsenal as Tuesday’s match at Sheffield may be too soon.