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Eddie Howe expected to remain unchanged at the back for Leicester clash



Newcastle United Football Club - NUFC
Credit: @NUFC instagram - the Magpies face a tough trip to face Leicester...

Newcastle United look to build on their first win when they travel to the King Power Stadium on Sunday afternoon to face Leicester City (2pm Kick-Off).

Howe’s side managed their first victory of the campaign last time out at St. James’ Park against Burnley. Callum Wilson scored the only goal of the game to help his side to a 1-0 win as Newcastle also kept their first clean sheet this term.

Despite not conceding for the first time last weekend, Howe has a choice to make at the back ahead of the Foxes clash. The new boss has four available centre-backs for Sunday’s game as questions over the full-back spaces seem to have been answered with the reintroduction of Javi Manquillo and Jamal Lewis to the starting eleven.

Newcastle are expected to remain unchanged from the side that get the job done last weekend but Howe does have options ahead of Sunday with all centre-backs back available for selection.

The Magpies have the third worse defensive record so far this season and have conceded an average of over 2 goals per Premier League game.

The trip to Leicester signals the start of a challenging festive run for Newcastle who face title challengers Liverpool and Manchester City before Christmas. Suspensions have previously forced Howe into several reshuffles, while Paul Dummett is expected to be missing for some time yet.

Ciaran Clark returns from his suspension after seeing red in the crucial clash with fellow strugglers Norwich. Swiss international Fabian Schar is expected to overcome his rib injury sustained in the win over the Clarets as he partnered Jamal Lascelles at SJP and helped guide Newcastle to their first clean sheet of the campaign.

The pair are expected to retain their places at the back, while some fans feel Clark shouldn’t play for the club again following his reckless sending off against the Canaries. Federico Fernandez is yet to break into the starting eleven under Howe, much to the frustration of many Newcastle fans who feel the Argentine would help stabilise the back line.

Howe is expected to keep it the same at the back for the battle with the Foxes.

But with the Newcastle defence coming under increased scrutiny and rightly so, here is a look at the options Howe has at his disposal:

Jamaal Lascelles

The 28-year-old has been at the club since his arrival from Notts Forest back in 2014 and has enjoyed the majority of his best performances in the Championship. The Skipper has played the most minutes at the back for Newcastle this term and put up a decent performance in last weekends win.


However, he has plenty of mistakes in him and gives the ball away too often in important areas. Howe is looking to instil a new style of football at the club and Lascelles often opts for safer and short passes. He has an average record of distribution and is likely to give the ball away on a number of occasions during the 90 minutes.

That being said, Lascelles is perhaps the best option when it comes to a traditional centre-half, not afraid of getting stuck in and looks to be a leader at the back – without always being successful.

His partnership with Schar last weekend helped Newcastle to a first clean sheet and Howe is expected to select the same pairing come 2pm on Sunday afternoon.

Federico Fernandez

The 32-year-old hasn’t featured for the Magpies since the 2-1 away defeat to Wolves in October and has therefore played the least minutes of the available centre-backs this season.

In a recent press conference Eddie Howe branded the Argentine an ‘outstanding player’ but the veteran defender is yet to feature from the start under the new boss.

Fernandez is the second highest winner of aerial battles at the club and played a key part in Newcastle’s draw with Norwich having gone down to ten men in just the eighth minute. Many supporters feel Fernandez should have a place in the starting eleven alongside Schar, especially given the supposed chance in approach.

Like Lascelles, the former Swansea man is often a leading figure at the back when he features and is perhaps more composed than the Englishman. He is certainly more careful in his defending and dives in much less than skipper Lascelles so may be a safer option if Howe wishes to utilise him.

Fabian Schar

The Swiss international is the best suited for the ball-playing role at the club and is set to feature alongside Lascelles as the Magpies face the Foxes on Sunday afternoon.

Having been left out in the cold by former boss Steve Bruce, the 29-year-old has returned to the squad under Eddie Howe and the new boss is known for front-foot attacking football. Schar started just twice under Bruce, and went more than two months without making an appearance in black-and-white.

Schar is certainly a more attacking option at the back and has the ability to drive out from the back while also being able to play the ball into the midfield.

However, the centre-back has committed the most fouls by any defender at the club and can sometimes get carried away on the ball. As shown by his attempted Cruyff turn in the closing stages against Dene Smith’s Norwich – almost gifting the visitors all three points at SJP.

Howe admitted he has been an ‘admirer’ of the Switzerland international before joining Newcastle, and hopes the club can agree to extend the centre-back’s contract which is due to expire at the end of the season.

Ciaran Clark

The 32-year-old’s sending off cost his team the opportunity of beating relegation rivals Norwich and gaining some much needed points in the battle for survival. The veteran defender should have known better given his experience and is second to the loose ball far too often.

The Republic of Ireland international was brought to SJP by Rafa Benitez and featured heavily in Newcastle’s promotion back to the Premier League – perhaps the Championship was his level.

Clark had been favoured by Howe before his red card but may fall out of favour as Newcastle claimed their first clean sheet last weekend as the 32-year-old sat out. He will have to fight hard to get his place back.

To some, Clark shouldn’t feature again after his moment of madness and is a prime example of the second-rate quality at the club. He is likely to miss out as Howe is expected to name a unchanged side.


Who would be your centre-back pairing on Sunday? Can Newcastle build on the momentum gained from the win over Burnley? Score predictions?

Join in the conversation and have your say…



Saudi Arabia wants its investors to own Manchester United



North East Updates - Breaking News

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.


Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.


It follows the Manchester United board announcing that they are open to a sale of the club.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisalstated he would be keen on Ronaldo signing for a Saudi Pro League after the World Cup, with the 37-year-old a free agent following a controversial interview and exit to Manchester United earlier this week..


“Who wouldn’t want him to play in their league?” “He’s a role model to a lot of young players – him and Messi.”


Sky news are reporting – It is the availability of United – after the Glazers announced plans for a potential sale – and Ronaldo that is interesting Prince Abdulaziz.


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Which Newcastle Players Are Going To The World Cup?




The FIFA World Cup in Qatar gets underway next week and here are all the Newcastle players involved in the tournament

Callum Wilson (England)

Newcastle striker Callum Wilson is a player that has consistently shown the quality to earn a spot in an England squad at a major tournament but has sadly had his chances diminished by injuries in the past.

However, Wilson is currently injury free and is on the plane to Qatar! The Coventry City academy graduate averages a goal every 130 minutes in the Premier League this season, which is the second-best return of all English players behind Harry Kane.

The 30-year-old may have to bide his time for an opportunity due to England captain Harry Kane being the first-choice striker. That said, Wilson gives Gareth Southgate a great alternative should England find themselves chasing a game.

Kieran Trippier (England)

Gareth Southgate has always been very fond of Kieran Trippier’s abilities and what he brings to a team. For example, in Euro 2020 Southgate opted to play Trippier at left-back ahead of a more natural option in Ben Chilwell due to the 32-year-old’s experience and leadership qualities.

Trippier brings bags of experience at major tournaments after reaching the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020.

With injuries at right-back to the likes of Reece James and uncertainty around the fitness of Kyle Walker, Trippier could start at right wing-back in England’s World Cup opener against Iran.

Nick Pope (England)

The last player to complete The Magpies’ England trio is Nick Pope. Toon’s No.1 has been outstanding since arriving from Burnley in the Summer and has earnt his place in England’s World Cup squad.

Pope has the joint most clean sheets in the Premier League this season (6) alongside Manchester City goalkeeper, Ederson and fellow England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

It remains to be seen if Gareth Southgate picks Pope to be his first-choice goalkeeper in Qatar ahead of Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale. Pope started both of England’s last games in the Nations League back in September.

Bruno Guimarães (Brazil)

Moving to South America and the favourites to win the competition, Brazil. Bruno Guimarães has been one of Newcastle’s stand-out players this season and has deservedly earned himself a spot in Brazil’s very competitive World Cup Squad.

Guimarães has statistically been the best midfielder in the Premier League so far this season and will be hoping his performances have done enough to earn him a start against Serbia in Brazil’s opening fixture.

That said, Brazil manager Adenor Leonardo Bacchi has predominantly played with a midfield two of Manchester United duo, Casemiro and Fred at the base of the Brazilian midfield.

Fabian Schär (Switzerland)

The Magpies’ centre-back has been in great form alongside Sven Botman at the heart of Newcastle’s defence this season and will be hoping to continue his form in Qatar.

Schär has some tough competition in his position in the form of Manchester City centre-back Manuel Akanji and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Nico Elvedi.

Switzerland find themselves in the same group as tournament favourites Brazil, which will see Schär reunited with Toon teammate Bruno Guimarães in Gameweek 2.

Who didn’t make the squad?

The most surprising player to not make their country’s squad is Sven Botman. The former Lille centre-back has been a major part of why Newcastle has the Premier League’s best defence so far this campaign.

Louis van Gaal has a great pool of centre-backs available to him and opted for the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Stefan de Vrij and Nathan Ake over Botman.

Another Toon player with World Cup disappointment is Joelinton, who has failed to follow Bruno Guimarães on the plane to Qatar.

Joelinton has been a revelation under Eddie Howe following his remarkable transformation from a striker to a box-to-box midfielder. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Joelinton this year.

Have Your Say

Who do you think will win the World Cup?

Which Newcastle player will be the best performer?

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What We Learnt (Spurs 1-2 Newcastle)



deadline day

Newcastle United were victorious at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium yesterday, winning 2-1 and now sit fourth in the Premier League. This is the first time they’ve been there at this stage of the season in 10 years.


Goals from Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron were enough to scare away any chances of a second-half Spurs comeback. That’s six goals for Miggy in what is now his best-ever season for goals in black and white.


With 21 points, just five behind Manchester City and seven behind current league leaders Arsenal, the Toon are looking better than ever, but what did the victory yesterday tell us?


Toon are charging for Europe


If you didn’t believe it at the start of the season you should now. Eddie Howe has transformed Newcastle into a team with a winning mentality with a real sense of togetherness in a squad who are willing to battle for one another, week in and week out.


Very few teams will travel to London this season and manage to come away with a point, never mind three when playing Spurs. Not only this game, however, but Man City (3-3), Liverpool (2-1) and Brentford (5-1) have also shown that Howe and his side mean business this season and are willing to go toe to toe with some of the very best teams, coaches and players in the world. 


In his first signing interview, Sven Botman said, “Newcastle wants to reach the top and the top is in the league and, at the end, maybe in Europe.” Maybe he didn’t specifically mean this season but now he and the rest of his teammates should believe that they have a real chance of playing European football next season.


Almiron transformation shouldn’t go unnoticed


Almiron made 30 appearances last season in the league and finished with just one goal and no assists. Now, after just 12 games and six goals, the Paraguayan is already on course to smash his previous goal-scoring records which have seen him accumulate nine Premier League goals over the course of four seasons. 


Loved by the fans and with the full support of his teammates, it can only get better for the Paraguayan at this point. His goal against Tottenham showed the dribbling, flair and finishing quality he withholds, something that Steve Bruce and Rafael Benitez could never get out of him.


Eddie Howe must be awarded credit for this development, as with the current budget the club has, he could’ve easily found a replacement in the summer. But, just like Joelinton, Miggy has cemented his spot in Newcastle’s starting eleven and is proving every week why he deserves to be there.


Wilson & Burn should be considered by Southgate 


On TalkSport recently, Neil Warnock warned Gareth Southgate saying his loyalty to players might be his downfall and said Dan Burn is “Mr Steady Eddie” referring to his versatility, being able to play left-back or centre-back.


Burn started 28 Premier League games last season and this season has 11 out of 12. His consistent dominating performances in Newcastle’s back line have put him into the conversation for a first-ever England call-up and I don’t think many would disagree. With John Stoned injured, Harry Maguire and Tyrone Mings not in good form and not getting regular game time, Gareth Southgate’s defensive decisions should now be a lot more challenging.


Callum Wilson has proved yet again his abilities as a top Premier League striker. His goal against Spurs not only put him in the headlines over England captain Harry Kane but also made it four in eight for the English man this season who has averaged 2.8 shots per game with an average scoring frequency of 162 minutes. 


With no clear-cut backup striker to Kane, is Wilson ahead of Ivan Toney and Tammy Abraham in the race to be England’s number two striker?


So, what do you think? Do Newcastle have a serious chance at European football next season, can Almiron stay at his best and should Wilson and Burn be considered for a World Cup call-up?


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