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Sport: Willock starts, £63k-p/w gem axed in 2 changes: Predicted Newcastle starting XI v LUFC - opinion

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After narrowly missing out on securing three points in their previous Premier League match against Watford at St James’ Park last weekend, when a late goal from Joao Pedro snatched a point for the away side, Newcastle United are back in action today with an away clash against Leeds United.

Ahead of the clash at Elland Road against Marcelo Bielsa’s side,  Magpies boss Eddie Howe revealed that Newcastle will still be without Callum Wilson, Federico Fernandez and Isaac Hayden through injury, as well as potentially Matt Ritchie. Howe added in his pre-match press conference that Jeff Hendrick and Dwight Gayle returned to training this week.

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With that in mind, here’s how we feel Newcastle could line up to take on Leeds this afternoon, with two changes anticipated from the XI which started against Watford a week ago.

  Willock starts, £63k-p/w gem axed in 2 changes: Predicted Newcastle starting XI v LUFC - opinion © Provided by Football FanCast

In goal, we think Howe will stick with Martin Dubravka after the Slovakian made four saves against Watford.

For the defence, we think the Newcastle boss will stick with the same back four which started against the Hornets, with Kieran Trippier at right-back, Paul Dummett on the left, and Fabian Schar and Jamaal Lascelles occupying the centre-back positions.

In midfield, we can see Howe sticking with Jonjo Shelvey and Joelinton, but Joe Willock comes back in to see if he can pull off something special as Sean Longstaff drops out. The ex-Arsenal youngster hasn’t hit the heights of last season this time around, but with Longstaff offering little attacking threat last week, he could be the fall guy for Willock today.

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In attack, it would be hard to not see Allan Saint-Maximin occupying his usual left-wing position to see if he can wreak havoc on Leeds’ defence and potentially add some goals or assists to his record for the season and, more importantly, secure a win for his team.

With Wilson still out, it would seem likely that Howe will stick with January signing Chris Wood to see if he can also cause the Whites some problems at the back and haunt his former club.

On the right, we think Howe will put Miguel Almiron back into the team, with Ryan Fraser – who is currently picking up £63k-per-week according to Salary Sport – dropping out to freshen up the attack. The Scot pays the price for going 17 games without a goal so far this season.

Whether or not Howe goes with the starting XI that we have suggested, this will still be a big game in terms of their hopes of avoiding relegation this season, and one they might be capable of winning given Leeds’ less than stellar results so far in this campaign.

In other news – Terms agreed: NUFC could land masterstroke with gem whose “shorts look like underwear”…


Newcastle ‘looking promising’ as pundit changes mind over relegation .
“If they had lost to Leeds it would have been a moody, strict trip. Now they’ve won that game it can be a bit more relaxed."Former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor thought Newcastle would get relegated, but he is having a rethink on that. After Newcastle’s crucial 1-0 win over Leeds last time out, Eddie Howe’s men set off for Saudi Arabia.

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