This is the team I predict Steve Bruce will name for this afternoon’s match against Arsenal at St. James’ Park. It has just one change from the draw at Liverpool with Callum Wilson reclaiming his spot in the starting eleven over Joelinton.
This is another match where Bruce will likely make few changes. It would be a surprise if Bruce changed the shape so I expect much the same team as last weekend.
Bruce admitted during his press conference on Friday that it was the right time for Wilson to start. If he does, it’ll be his first in almost three months and would likely end a 9-match starting streak for Joelinton.
Matt Ritchie has a slight problem with his calf but did train on Friday so he’ll hopefully be able to go this afternoon. We could also see Fabian Schar back in the matchday squad. He was injured in the win against Southampton in February, which was also when Wilson suffered his hamstring injury.
Jamaal Lascelles (foot), Isaac Hayden (knee), Ryan Fraser (groin), Karl Darlow (knee), Joe Willock (ineligible against parent club), Fabian Schar (knee – late fitness test), Matt Ritchie (calf- late fitness test)
Kieran Tierney (knee – late fitness test), Alexandre Lacazette (hamstring – late fitness test)
Our poll reveals a fanbase that remains confident from our four-match unbeaten run. Over 50% expect Newcastle to pick up a win which would practically guarantee safety with Fulham losing 2-0 at Chelsea yesterday.
Only 16% think the lads will get beaten today. It’s a prime time to pick up a result against the Gunners whose thoughts may be on Thursday’s Europa League semi-final. Villareal won the first leg in Spain 2-1.
The lads need to remain focused despite survival seemingly all wrapped up now. Fulham are 9 back with just for games remaining. The results yesterday dropped us to 17th for the time being but a win would propel us to 13th.
A run of consistency to close this campaign could see us with a decent finish. That has to be the aim after this rollercoaster of a season. A win today would put us in a position to mount a charge on last season’s total of 44 points. However, we are going to have to do it without the late-game heroics of Joe Willock.