If final weekend’s journey to Brighton was our first large take a look at of the season, we’re stepping it up one other few ranges this Sunday as Manchester Metropolis come to city.
The Premier League champions have gained each their video games with minimal fuss to date, following a 2-0 win at West Ham on the opening day with a 4-0 battering of Bournemouth.
In reality, we had been lucky to return away from the South Coast with a degree final Saturday, counting on some Nick Pope brilliance, goal-line clearances, missed possibilities and last-ditch defending to maintain the rating at 0-0.
Maybe it’s an indication of aspect when you can play poorly and nonetheless discover the spirit to muster a treasured level on the street, with ourselves and Man Metropolis the one two sides but to concede a aim this season.
That mentioned, it was clear (once more) final weekend that we’re a number of new attackers away from being a aspect able to disrupting the large six and competing for a spot in Europe. Not solely that, some really feel it was proof one other holding midfielder is required now Jonjo Shelvey will miss the primary half of the season.
In a sport that pressured us onto the again foot, Bruno Guimaraes didn’t look practically as snug in that deeper position – which limits his capability to make issues occur within the last third. He ran the present in that place in opposition to Nottingham Forest, however we gained’t be enjoying a newly-promoted aspect at St James’ Park each week.
Nonetheless, we’ve began the season unbeaten, with two clear sheets and 4 factors from our opening video games, gaining an early benefit on high 10 rivals likes Man Utd, West Ham, Leicester, Wolves and Everton – all of that are caught on one level or much less.
Sunday isn’t a ‘free hit’, however we will head into this one assured, prepared for the problem and with a way of freedom, backed by one other promote out crowd and an excellent residence report in 2022.
Man Metropolis might have crushed us 4-0 when the 2 sides final met at St James’ Park in December, however our residence report since then has been nothing in need of excellent, seeing us win seven of our final 9, with our solely loss coming in a 1-0 defeat to Liverpool.
Matt Targett is dealing with a late health take a look at after lacking our earlier sport with a lifeless leg, nevertheless Ryan Fraser is anticipated to return after overcoming a again spasm.
Jonjo Shelvey will miss out as soon as once more and it stays to be seen if Emil Krafth or Federico Fernandez will characteristic after each did not characteristic in our newest set of coaching pictures.
For Man Metropolis, new full-back Sergio Gomez has been named within the matchday squad, with Lavin Phillips additionally match after overcoming a minor damage.
Predicted line ups
(4-3-3): Dubravka – Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn – Guimaraes, S Longstaff, Joelinton – Almiron, Wilson, Saint-Maximin.
If Targett passes a late health take a look at, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Howe go together with a 5-3-2 formation, permitting Schar, Botman and Burn to all begin at centre-back.
Nevertheless, the one change I can see – on the premise Targett missed out – is Sean Longstaff coming in for Willock, with the latter going lacking throughout massive components of final weekend’s 0-0 draw at Brighton.
Howe might also wish to see how Longstaff can carry out in that holding position, because the membership are mentioned to be weighing up a transfer for one more midfielder now Shelvey has been dominated out for the primary half of the season.
In assault, Almiron’s vitality could possibly be key at each ends and essential in stopping the marauding Joao Cancelo, though he could possibly be the person sacrificed if Howe does go for a 5-2-3?
Predicted Man Metropolis XI: (4-1-2-3): Ederson – Walker, Dias, Ake, Cancelo – Rodri – Gundogan, De Bruyne – Foden, Haaland, Grealish.
One to observe: Erling Haaland – Portuguese star Joao Cancelo supplies ridiculously good high quality from full-back and infrequently causes havoc when drifting into midfield, nevertheless it’s exhausting to disregard Erling Haaland. The massive man performs like a striker that’s been made in a lab and brought on havoc at West Ham in his final away outing, along with his motion, tempo, presence and ice-cool ending serving to him to a brace in opposition to the Hammers. Whether or not it’s Burn, Schar, Botman or all three, they’ve their fingers full with Haaland!
I anticipate us to present this one an actual go, nevertheless it’s at all times an enormous process discovering the steadiness in opposition to a Man Metropolis aspect who at all times dominate possession and push groups again with aim threats in each space of the pitch.
I fancy us to attain and consider we’ll have our moments in-between the backs-to-the-wall defending, however there’s a motive solely Man Metropolis and Liverpool have crushed us at St James’ Park since Eddie Howe took the job – they’re a bit particular!
Prediction: Newcastle 1-2 Man Metropolis