Championship

Newcastle vs Brighton – Who should start?

Tonight Newcastle visit the Amex Stadium to play Brighton and Hove Albion in a match being tipped as the most important match for both teams. In this article, I’ll be looking at who should start for Newcastle and who should be left on the bench. The only injuries for the away side are Dwight Gayle, Isaac Hayden, Vurnon Anita and Rolando Aarons.

Goalkeeper
The three options for the keeper spot are Karl Darlow, Matz Sels, and Rob Elliot. I would immediately rule out Sels as he has been a liability in every match he’s featured in. Plus, he’s just played in an Under 23s match against Southampton today. Next, there is Rob Elliot who’s returned from a knee injury which kept him out for almost a year. At the minute, he’s been playing in Under 23s matches to build up his fitness. Last season he put in some great performances which should make him an option. However because this match is huge, I think playing Elliot would be a risk. I would go for Darlow as he is tried and tested and can save us from defeats. Yes, he’s made a few mistakes as of late but I think he’ll put that behind him.

Verdict: Darlow

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Defence
As the great Sir Alex Ferguson said: “Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles”. This quote is true as this game could help decide the title. For the right back position, I would opt for DeAndre Yedlin. His pace could be key for quick counter attacks if Newcastle can’t break through Brighton’s defence. There’s only one centre back pairing I would want and that’s Ciaran Clark and Jamaal Lascelles. Clark has been one of our most consistent performers and Lascelles has been a rock in the heart of defence. If the two play as well as they did against Wolves, Newcastle’s keeper can rest easy. In the left back role, I would like to see Achraf Lazaar for the same reason as Yedlin. However, from his last Instagram story post it doesn’t look like he’s in the squad. So it’s very possible Dummett will start.

Verdict: Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark & Lazaar

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Midfield
As Isaac Hayden is currently sidelined with an ankle injury, this makes it difficult to choose a partner for Jonjo Shelvey. But first I’ll be looking at the right wing position. I would want to see Matt Ritchie there. The Scotsman has scored 8 goals and gotten 7 assists. I think he’s our most effective right winger and his partnership with Yedlin has been deadly. In the centre of midfield there can be only choice, Jonjo Shelvey. Shelvey has been our midfield maestro and our most important player. Next to him Rafa will probably be forced play Jack Colback. It’s common knowledge that he’s one of our worst players although to be fair to him he has been decent in his last few matches and was great against Villa. For the final midfielder, I chose Christian Atsu. He’s been, debatably, our best winger this season. He’s got great pace and good dribbling skills, all you need. He definitely deserves a spot in the starting XI.

Verdict: Atsu, Shelvey, Colback & Ritchie

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Strikers
With star striker Dwight Gayle out for another month, striking options are Mitrovic, Murphy, Diame and Perez. My personal preference would be Mitrovic and Murphy. Two tall, strong target men up front would make it hard for Brighton’s defenders to cope. However, if we do play with those two it’s crucial that the wingers put enough crosses into the box. Mitrovic clearly isn’t the best finisher but is deadly when he gets his head to the ball. The same goes to Murphy although is finishing is better than Mitrovic.

Verdict: Mitrovic & Murphy

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Final team: Darlow, Lazaar, Lascelles, Clark, Yedlin, Atsu, Ritchie, Colback, Shelvey, Mitrovic and Murphy

Do you agree with this team? Tweet me @MITROVlC

Featured image credit: David Curtyy

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