Newcastle United should only make one change to the lineup from last weekend when they travel to St. Mary’s Stadium to take on Southampton.
Newcastle United need three points to give themselves some breathing room in the current relegation battle. The Magpies desperately need to turn things around as they failed to win a single game in February.
Southampton have a lot of quality in their squad, but they have been doomed by inconsistency as of late. Having lost three of their last five, the Saints will try to attack the Magpies from the opening whistle, so Steve Bruce’s men must be wary of their hosts on Saturday.
That being said, the key thing fans are wondering is who will start for Newcastle United on Saturday? In my opinion, the same team that was deployed against Burnley should start this weekend, with the only exception being Joelinton.
Bruce had Allan Saint-Maximin on the bench against Burnley because of the Frenchman’s lingering hamstring problem, but he should play his most dynamic winger against Southampton. Matt Ritchie performed well against Burnley and he deserves to start again this weekend.
How can that be possible if Saint-Maximin starts? Well, the solution is not that difficult. The Magpies’ new tactics utilize the 4-4-2 shape, but Miguel Almiron frequently cuts inside and plays up the middle, essentially turning the formation into a 4-2-3-1.
As a result, Bruce should start Almiron up top with Dwight Gayle, but let Almiron play slightly behind Gayle and ahead of the central midfield duo. Ritchie and Saint-Maximin would then be allowed to do what they do best in their natural positions out wide.
The partnership of Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden presents Newcastle United with more creativity offensively and better defensive awareness in the middle of the park, which will be needed against the likes of Danny Ings and Moussa Djenepo. Behind Shelvey and Hayden, the back-line that started against Burnley should be rewarded with another start for their impressive shift last weekend.
Javier Manquillo has not missed a beat despite his long spell on the sideline due to injury, Danny Rose has started to look more comfortable as a Magpie, and Jamaal Lascelles and Federico Fernandez simply cannot be dropped at the moment. Fabian Schar has the quality to jump in and start, but there is no reason for Bruce to change things up in the back this weekend.
Formation and Lineup
GK: Martin Dubravka
DEF: Javier Manquillo, Federico Fernandez, Jamaal Lascelles, Danny Rose
MID: Allan Saint-Maximin, Jonjo Shelvey, Isaac Hayden, Matt Ritchie
ATT: Miguel Almiron, Dwight Gayle