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Opinion: How Newcastle should line-up against Burnley to get their first win of the season



Credit: @NUFC twitter - The Magpies prepare for Clarets Clash...


Newcastle remain winless and sit rock bottom of the Premier League ahead of the clash with the Clarets on Saturday afternoon at St James’ Park.

After fourteen games, the Magpies can have little complaints over their woeful start but have experienced improvement under new manager, Eddie Howe.

Attacking wise, the home side have a respectable goalscoring record but their second-rate defending has meant they’ve conceded more than any other team in the league – the current tally sits at 30.

Following their disappointing draw with the Canaries on Tuesday evening, in which Clark saw red just eight minutes in, Newcastle are still seeking a first win and must take the three points come 3pm if they are to retain their Premier League status.

There’s been several questions surrounding team selection ahead of the must-win clash and who should make the starting eleven has divided opinion. Much of the debate has been regarding who should be part of the back four.



Eddie Howe has already made it clear that his preferred formation is 4-4-2 and things were looking promising in the opening stages against the Canaries until Clark stupidly pulled down Teemu Puki following a shocking display of defending.

Jamal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie return to the match-day squad after serving their one-match suspensions in the game in North-London last weekend but won’t be certain of a place in the starting eleven.

Howe made positive comments towards Lascelles in today’s press conference:

“He’s a hugely important player because he has physicality and pace in our back line and they’re qualities we need. I really like Jamaal and I think there’s a lot more to come from him. I think we can take his game to new heights.”

Federico Fernandez is the other candidate to replace Clark at centre-back and after his introduction eight minutes into the Canaries clash, he seems to be the favourite to take the spot. Many fans feel he is Newcastle’s best defensive option and has been unlucky to not feature more this campaign. Howe has also made positive comments about Fede ahead of Saturday’s game at SJP:

“I thought he was outstanding. A model professional who prepared well, trained well and was ready for his moment when it came. I really love him as a person and he’s going to be invaluable. His leadership qualities are there for all to see.”

The introduction of Jamal Lewis at full-back seemed to have an instant impact last time out as the Northern-Ireland international made a couple of important blocks to deny the Norwich attack. He also gives the Magpies extra support going forward. For this, he should definitely retain his position in the starting line-up.

Javi Manquillo started on the opposite side of the defence as Ritchie missed out and played his part in the well-fought draw. The Spaniard has been involved in three goals this season, assisting 2 and scoring away at Old Trafford. He also provides more stability than his Scottish teammate.

However, Ritchie’s passion and experience under Howe may be enough to see him get back into the squad from the Kick-Off. The ex-Bournemouth man is above the top ten most creative full-backs in the league and has provided numerous opportunities for the front men.

Fabian Schar is likely to retain his place given his ball-playing abilities and the style of football new manager Howe likes to play. The move to a four at the back has given the Magpies more attacking impetus and has proven positive in improving performances all over the pitch. Hopefully the lads can get the win on Saturday, end the streak and give the club a much-needed boost.

Goalkeeper Martin Dubravka returned to the starting eleven against Arsenal and has made some important stops in the previous two games. However, his inability to catch a deep cross in midweek cost the team their lead – the Slovakian will be looking to put that mistake behind him come 3pm on Saturday.

Here is how Newcastle should set up at the back tomorrow afternoon:


Howe played four across the midfield on Tuesday evening and is likely to follow suit against the Clarets at SJP. The new boss has favoured ex-Bournemouth man Ryan Fraser on the right and despite being sacrificed after Clark saw red, the Scottish international seems set to get another start. He created the equaliser against Brentford a few weeks ago and helped his side to a point following the 3-3 scoreline.

Fraser experienced some fine form under Howe in his time at the Cherries but is yet to deliver anything like that level of performance on Tyneside. For that reason, my preference would be a deeper midfield two of Isaac Hayden in a holding role with Jonjo Shelvey as a playmaker in-front of the back four.

The ex-Liverpool and Swansea man has been one of Newcastle’s best players under the new manager and has found a creative spark. His work-rate has been questioned over the years and rightly so but he certainly put in a shift in the visit of Norwich on Tuesday.

The 4-2-3-1 system gives the team the best chance of creating chances going forward and packing a punch in attack. This set up allows Joelinton to play on the left of an advanced three which is arguably his best position.

The Brazilian put in a MOTM performance last time out and has more freedom further forward to effect the game positively for his team. Like Shelvey, the 25-year-old has been one of the most impressive players since Howe took over a few weeks ago.

Joe Willock had another quiet game against Dean Smith’s side but will feel he can provide more in attacking areas if Newcastle can keep eleven players on the pitch this time out. His most promising moment was when he ran forward with the ball, beating a number of defenders before finding Callum Wilson in the box who failed to hit the target like his teammates before him.

Allan Saint-Maximin seems to have a fairly free role and that’s the best way to play the exciting French winger. His ability to beat players is unmatched in the Premier League and he can only improve his end product in a more attacking formation. The 4-2-3-1 set up seems to suit his game, helping to grow his relationship with Wilson and is likely to have a big say if Newcastle claim their first win.

The two deep lying players in the middle of the park can combine with the three in advanced positions to make a solid five in midfield which adds to the flexible nature of the formation and could help the attacking flow of Howe’s side.

Here is how the midfield could potentially look:



Joelinton and Saint-Maximin in advanced wing positions will be the main support for striker Callum Wilson and need to bring their A-game come 3pm on Saturday as Newcastle desperately need a win to change their fortunes.

Their current form sees them heading straight towards relegation to the Championship.

The attackers have turned up on a number of occasions for the Magpies this season but performances have been plagued with second-rate defensive displays, giving the team no chance of gaining much-needed momentum in forward areas.

Callum Wilson is a constant threat up top but has scored just once in the previous five games. That goal came in midweek and the veteran striker will be looking to add to his tally against Lancashire side Burnley tomorrow afternoon.

He had a couple of chances against the Canaries on Tuesday before he dispatched his penalty and may be frustrated that he didn’t take his opportunities – he is a likely scorer come 3pm.

Here is how Newcastle could set-up on Saturday at SJP:


Newcastle head into yet another must-win fixture against fellow strugglers Burnley and can’t afford any more slip-ups in their hunt for Premier League survival.

There were a lot of positive to take from the performance on Tuesday evening and the lads gave it their all.

However, the result wasn’t good enough in the wider context of the season.

Any points the Magpies can collect in their six festive fixtures would be a bonus and go a long way in bolstering their chances of avoiding relegation – starting with Burnley where anything less than a win would be a disaster.

Burnley have a poor record on the road this campaign and Newcastle have looked threatening at home despite there glaring issues in defence so I predict a tight 2-1 victory.


Pre-match thoughts? Score predictions?

Will Newcastle claim their first win on Saturday? Can the Magpies get enough points to give their new recruits a chance of survival in the second half of the season?

Join in the conversation and have your say…


Eddie Howe Wants to Keep Two Out of Contract Players this Summer.



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 –

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Top 10 Free Transfers NUFC Could Sign This Summer



Newcastle United Free Transfers - top 10 Summer 2023

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.


  1. 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


  1. 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


  1. 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


  1. 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


  1. 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

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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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