Eddie Howe expected to remain unchanged at the back for Leicester clash
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:
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.
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.
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.
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…
Eddie Howe Wants to Keep Two Out of Contract Players this Summer.
Newcastle United boss wants to extend the contracts of two players before losing them.
Eddie Howe has expressed in a recent fan Q&A his intentions to keep two out of contract players this summer, Loris Karius and Paul Dummett, according to the Athletic’s Chris Waugh, with both players current contracts set to end this summer.
6 players are currently set to become out of contract come June 1st, Loris Karius, Paul Dummet, Mark Gillespie, Matt Ritchie, Matty Longstaff and Ciaran Clark. However, it is only Karius and Dummett that appear to be safe of getting the chop.
Loris Karius has spent this season as Newcastle United’s third choice keeper, with only one appearance coming in the 2-0 defeat to Manchester United in the Carabao Cup Final. Despite the loss, Karius did little wrong and contributed some wonderful saves late on in that game.
Paul Dummett has had the same treatment, with only one appearance coming his way, a Carabao Cup tie in the second round against Tranmere Rovers back in August. The 31-year-old Welshman is an experienced head and will no doubt have great respect within the dressing room having signed for the club back in 2012 making 205 appearances in that time.
Both players can expect new contracts from Eddie Howe as he has made it known that he wants them both to remain at the club next season.
Who would you want to remain at the club from the current out of contract list – let us know on our social media and follow us for latest North East Updates –https://linktr.ee/northeastupdates
Top 10 Free Transfers NUFC Could Sign This Summer
10 players Eddie Howe could look towards with contracts expiring at the end of this season.
The free agent’s market is the absolute cheat code for clubs across the board, being able to avoid the rising transfer fees and getting players through the door through verbal agreements makes life much easier for clubs during the transfer window.
We have compiled a list of 10 free transfers NUFC could sign this summer from Europe’s top five leagues giving them a rating of the potential of them signing and the impact they would have.
- Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund)
The 29-year-old full back has his contract expiring this summer and with NUFC already being hinted at as his potential new club, this one is worth keeping an eye on over the next few months. He would slot straight in at left-back to have healthy competition for fan favourite Dan Burn and add a burst of class and pace to that left hand side. The Portugal international already has an impressive CV and would be looking to show that off to the St. James faithful.
Potential – A
Impact – A
- Yerry Mina (Everton)
With Everton potentially facing the drop this season, a jump from Merseyside to Newcastle could suit the centre back to a T. The 28-year-old Columbian international would add to NUFC’s already in form back line and bring some South American heat as they look to progress further next season. Mina possesses dominance, aggression, and a great ariel threat and would be a top addition to the magpies this summer.
Potential – B
Impact – A
- Jonathan Bamba (Lille)
An explosive winger who made his name known as Lille snatched the league title in 2021 in France, the 26-year-old is still yet to receive a contract extension from the club and could be looking elsewhere in the summer. Adding pace, flair, and drive to an already exciting front three for NUFC could be what fans need going into next season.
Potential – C
Impact – A
- Youri Tielemans (Leicester City)
Reportedly being close to leaving in the summer window of 2022, Youri Tielemans would be a fine addition to NUFC’s midfield being able to operate in a slightly deeper role to allow Bruno to push further up the field and do what he does best. The 25-year-old has his contract expiring this summer and with him and James Maddison already being linked to the club, this transfer seems to make so much more sense and would add heaps of quality to the centre of the field.
Potential – B
Impact – A
- Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
Drive, power, and flair are the 3 best words to describe Crystal Palace star man Wilfried Zaha. The 30-year-old could be looking to depart his beloved club in the hope for European football next season and NUFC could be just the place for him. Being able to operate either on the left or down the middle, Zaha would thrive under Eddie Howe and be a fantastic addition to the front line.
Potential – B
Impact – A
Sunderland suspend Jack Diamond after player is charged with rape and sexual assault
A Sunderland football player on loan to Lincoln FC has had his loan terminated after he was charged with rape.
Jack Diamond, 23, had been arrested after a sexual assault in Washington, Tyne and Wear, last year.
Northumbria Police launched an investigation, but have now charged him with one count of rape and one count of sexual assault.
Lincoln City FC said the player’s loan contract had been terminated “with immediate effect”.
His home club, Sunderland AFC, said he had been suspended pending the outcome of legal proceedings.
In a statement, it said: “Sunderland AFC has been notified that criminal charges have been brought against Jack Diamond by the Crown Prosecution Service.”
“As this matter is subject to a legal process, the club will not be making any further statement at this time”.
The incident is alleged to have happened in May last year.
Mr Diamond, of Fatfield, also Washington, is due to appear before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court in May.
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