We think Steve Bruce will go with an unchanged side against Chelsea on Saturday. The four players who came in for the Manchester United match are likely to keep their place.
These players deserve another chance together after the win at St James Park before the break. Especially Matty Longstaff, who put in a Man of the Match performance in his Premier League debut.
With Isaac Hayden out through suspension, the Longstaff brothers are almost certain to retain their places. Newcastle are likely to be on the back foot against Chelsea, and that doesn’t suit either Jonjo Shelvey or Ki Sung-yueng.
Allan Saint-Maximin showed what he can offer in his first start since returning from his hamstring injury. We think he is a first-choice player going forward barring any fitness concerns.
DeAndre Yedlin and Ciaran Clark both played very well in their first starts of the season. DeAndre Yedlin put in the best performance by a right-back for Newcastle this season and should keep his place. Though we could see Steve Bruce going back to Emil Krafth.
Yedlin played for the USA on Tuesday and did not play well defensively. He was yanked in the second half by coach Gregg Berhalter. He has just returned from a long-term injury, so Bruce may decide to not play him twice in less than a week. We still think he will play but would not be surprised to see Krafth in his place.
We don’t think Bruce will play Andy Carroll from the start though we believe he really wants to. Andy was excellent when he came on for the struggling Joelinton against Manchester United.
Chelsea also have fitness concerns at center-back with Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger likely to miss out. That leaves Kurt Zouma to partner with Fikayo Tomori for Saturday’s match. Carroll could prove a handful for them.
We’ll still go the conservative route and predict an unchanged side. However, the inclusion of Emil Krafth and Andy Carroll from the start would not shock us.
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