Who will start for Newcastle United against Manchester City in the FA Cup quarter final on Sunday?
Newcastle United will be in FA Cup action on Sunday when they travel to the Etihad Stadium to take on Manchester City. Both teams have been trying to adapt to an accelerated Premier League schedule since Project Restart began on June 17th.
Of the two teams, Manchester City has been the busier side as they play their third game in eight days today when they go up against Chelsea. Newcastle United were fortunate to play their opening games of Project Restart at home, but now they will be the away team against one of the most in-form clubs in Europe.
It remains to be seen how many changes Steve Bruce will make ahead of this important cup tie, especially since Pep Guardiola recently stated that his team will treat this game like a cup final. The key question for Bruce is who should get the nod in the starting lineup?
Having reached such a critical stage in the prestigious domestic tournament, Bruce will not take any chances in goal. That being said, fans should expect to see Martin Dubravka between the sticks. In front of him, the same back line that was used against Aston Villa should be selected, but with one exception.
Bruce should keep Javier Manquillo fit for league action and replace him with speedster DeAndre Yedlin to help the defense cope with Manchester City’s lethal pace. In the middle of the park, Jonjo Shelvey’s creativity and superior passing will be needed, but Bruce should not risk Isaac Hayden in this clash.
Hayden, along with Matt Ritchie, suffered a soft tissue injury against Aston Villa. So, the next reliable option would be Schalke 04 loanee Nabil Bentaleb. Out wide, Allan Saint-Maximin is a must on the right flank.
Fatigue could be an issue for him, but the Magpies need their most dynamic player on the pitch, even it is only for 60 minutes. Opposite of the Frenchman, it would not be a surprise to see Valentino Lazaro get 90 minutes under his belt.
In the number ten role, Bruce will look to Miguel Almiron to continue his hot streak in the FA Cup. The Paraguayan has found the back of the net four times in the tournament and he will be an integral player on Sunday.
Who Bruce will play up top is more of a mystery, but Joelinton has impressed in the last two league games. My expectation is to see the Brazilian start on Sunday, especially since he scored against Sheffield United and is now constantly looking to get into the box.
GK: Martin Dubravka
DEF: DeAndre Yedlin, Federico Fernandez, Jamaal Lascelles, Danny Rose
MID: Allan Saint-Maximin, Nabil Bentaleb, Jonjo Shelvey, Valentino Lazaro, Miguel Almiron