Newcastle United would only be 90 minutes away from a trip to Wembley with a win tomorrow, but who will suit up for the Magpies?
Newcastle United are in a rough patch due to their glaring inconsistency. The last two weeks have been a case of night and day for the Toon in terms of their performances, and that inconsistency, paired with shot confidence, is why I am predicting a Brentford victory tomorrow. Obviously, I hope I am wrong.
Brentford have sufficient quality to cause an upset in the quarter-finals, especially if star man Ivan Toney can carry over his league form. Newcastle United can definitely win this game, but are they capable of hitting the reset button as a team three days after barely taking a point from Fulham at St. James’ Park?
The fact that Newcastle United will go up against Manchester City (A) and Liverpool (H) to conclude 2020 forces Steve Bruce to think twice as hard about tomorrow’s lineup. It remains to be seen what approach Bruce will take, but here is what I perceive to be the most logical lineup against Brentford.
With the Magpies now deep in this domestic tournament it only makes sense to start Karl Darlow against Brentford’s dynamic attack. The back four should see two changes from Saturday’s game.
Isaac Hayden should replace Federico Fernandez, who was taken off at halftime against Fulham due to fatigue, and Emil Krafth should replace Paul Dummett, who is not capable of starting back-to-back games over three days after being sidelined since January.
The most important decisions Bruce will make are in midfield. In the center circle, Jonjo Shelvey needs to pull the strings, but he should be paired with an energetic partner such as Matty Longstaff, who is desperate for some game time. His eagerness to impress could bode well for the Toon.
Bruce has a few options to choose from in the wide areas, but he also needs to think of avoiding injuries and fatigue to key players for the upcoming league fixtures. That being said, it would make the most sense to start Ryan Fraser and Jacob Murphy. Both players have lethal pace, can deliver quality balls into the box, and are aiming to earn regular minutes going forward.
Up top, Newcastle United are too dependent on Callum Wilson. The main striker needs to rest, but he should be the first substitution if the score is level, or if the Magpies are trailing in the second half.
The starters on the front line should be Dwight Gayle and Andy Carroll. Both players are itching to play from the opening whistle, and their opposite styles of play could complement each other in this clash.
Darlow; Yedlin, Hayden, Clark, Krafth; Fraser, Shelvey, M. Longstaff, Murphy; Gayle, Carroll.