The 2021/22 Premier League season is barely a month old but tension and relegation fears are already building on Tyneside.
Having signed just one senior player in the summer – Joe Willock from Arsenal – the mood around St James’s Park has been worsened by the club’s poor start on the pitch.
Steve Bruce’s side have claimed just one point from their opening four games, leaving them 19th in the table. That’s not forgetting the Carabao Cup exit either – falling at the first hurdle to Burnley.
Friday’s meeting with Leeds at St James’s is a massive game as both sides look to kickstart their respective seasons.
As ever, Bruce will have some big team selection calls to make – and here we predict the starting XI he will name for the visit of Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites.
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1. GK: Karl Darlow
Woodman’s poor showing at Old Trafford could - rightly or wrongly - see the former Swansea City loanee dropped to the bench, and Darlow handed his first start of the season.
2. RWB: Javier Manquillo
Got up the pitch to score Newcastle’s goal against Manchester United. Probably a bit more assured defensively than Murphy.
Photo: Laurence Griffiths
3. CB: Fabian Schar
Was dropped to the bench at the weekend, where he was an unused substitute, having started against Southampton before the international break.
Photo: Michael Regan
4. CB: Federico Fernandez
A controversial call but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see captain Jamaal Lascelles taken out of the starting XI following an iffy start to the campaign.
Photo: Ian MacNicol