With the relegation battle now more competitive in the league, Steve Bruce has a major dilemma on his hands regarding which lineup he will deploy against West Brom.
Newcastle United find themselves between a rock and a hard place, but the team put itself in that situation. The Magpies only managed to claim one point over the course of their last two games against Crystal Palace and Burnley.
Dropping precious points against mediocre clubs in the Premier League has cost this team dearly as they are now only five points clear of the relegation zone. In December, Steve Bruce’s side were sitting ninth in the table and thinking about chasing a European spot, but the narrative has changed rapidly.
Newcastle United will be competing in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Tuesday and they will be taking on West Brom at the Hawthorns. The Baggies currently claim the top spot in the Championship and are focused on earning promotion. Their manager, Slaven Bilic, hinted that he will not play his strongest team against Newcastle United for that very reason.
That is great news for the Magpies as it would give them an even greater advantage to advance in the tournament, but who should Bruce play? Seeing what the situation is like in the Premier League, Bruce should not risk all of his starters. As excited as fans are over a potential deep run in the FA Cup, reserving a spot in the 2020-21 Premier League campaign is much more important at the moment.
That being said, here is the lineup I am proposing for Newcastle United when they go up against West Brom on Tuesday. Keep in mind that Valentino Lazaro will not be allowed to play in this game because red cards in England are carried across every competition, not just league games.
Bruce should stick with the new 4-4-2 formation he went with against Burnley over the weekend. Newcastle United looked more dangerous offensively as they created 21 chances, and it gives the players an extra session to get used to playing in the new shape.
GK: Karl Darlow
DEF: DeAndre Yedlin, Fabian Schar, Jamaal Lascelles, Danny Rose
MID: Christian Atsu, Matty Longstaff, Nabil Bentaleb, Miguel Almiron
ATT: Dwight Gayle and Joelinton