Match: Newcastle United vs Leeds United
Venue: St. James Park
Date and Time: 18th September, Saturday, 12:30 IST
Newcastled United and Leeds United will fight for their first win after a difficult start
After an enthralling round of Champions League football, the focus now shifts back to the Premier League. Newcastle United are hosting Leeds United at the St. James Park, with both teams looking to register their first win of the season.
The first four matches of the Premier League have been really tough for the Magpies, as they have lost against West Ham, Aston Villa and Manchester United – all by considerable margins. Their only point came against Southampton in a 2-2 draw. There are questions over manager Steve Bruce’s future, and if the results don’t go their way from now onwards, then a sacking might well be on the cards.
Newcastle are coming to this fixture on the back of a 4-1 drubbing against Manchester United, as Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace on his homecoming. There were major concentration lapses and organizational flaws in defence, and all in all, the Magpies were simply not up for the contest. They need to iron out these mistakes and get a result against Leeds, preferably a win.
It is surprising that Leeds United are also very much in the same position in the league table after four matches. They were swept aside by Manchester United in their Premier League opener. Although they got two draws against Everton and Burnley, they lost 3-0 against Liverpool. The Whites are currently in the 17th spot, only a point ahead of the relegation zone. While Leeds have shown great spark in attack, their defence has let them down big time.
Just like Newcastle, Leeds also suffered a heavy defeat in their last match. Marcelo Bielsa’s men were second best against a spirited Liverpool side as the Reds wrapped up the game with a 3-0 win. The match also saw Belgian defender Pascal Struijk getting sent off after his tussle with Harvey Elliot left the latter brutally injured. Elliot did admit that it was an accident and Struijk had no malice in the challenge, but even then, the defender has been handed a ban of three matches.
Newcastle and Leeds have met each other in a total of 96 official matches. In head-to-head records, both teams are level with 39 wins each. It is a testament to how competitive this match has been over the years. The last time both the sides met was back in January this year, when Leeds United edged past Newcastle United 2-1 in what was a very close contest.
Newcastle United: L D L L (Premier League)
Leeds United: L D D L (Premier League)
Newcastle are without the services of several players for this clash against Leeds. Players like Martin Dubravka, Jonjo Shelvey, and Callum Wilson are injured and will miss this clash. There are question marks over Ciaran Clark, Paul Dummett and Joe Willock’s fitness. However, Willock and Clark were seen in training ahead of the game and maybe they will sneak in the matchday squad. Some reports suggest that Scottish winger Ryan Fraser might feature in the squad, after he suffered a foot injury while serving international duties.
Newcastle United Predicted starting XI: Karl Darlow; Matt Ritchie, Fabian Schar, Jamaal Lascelles, Javier Manquillo, Federico Fernandez; Isaac Hayden, Joelinton, Joe Willock, Miguel Almiron; Allan Saint-Maximin.
Leeds United will be missing their Belgian defender Pascal Struijk as he was sent off for a rough tackle on Harvey Elliot. The defender now needs to serve a three-match ban after Leeds lost their appeal against the ban. Apart from Struijk, Leeds will miss the likes of Adam Forshaw, Diego Llorente, and Robin Koch as all of them are injured. With Llorente and Koch injured and Struijk suspended, Bielsa needs to work out some plan as Leeds are short on centre-backs.
Leeds United Predicted Starting XI: Illan Meslier; Junior Firpo, Liam Cooper, Luke Ayling, Stuart Dallas; Kalvin Phillips; Mateusz Klich, Rodrigo Moreno, Raphinha, Jack Harrison; Patrick Bamford.
NEW vs LEE: Top Picks
The Frenchman has been the only shining light for the Magpies this season. Saint-Maximin is easily one of the most talented players in the Newcastle roster and he has shown his class even when the team has not lived up to their standards. The Frenchman delivered a fine assist to Javier Manquillo for the only goal they scored against Manchester United. Out of five goals scored by Newcastle this season, Saint-Maximin has come up with two assists and a goal, proving his worth as a player.
If Steve Bruce and his men want to win this clash against Leeds, they need to provide Saint-Maximin with more support. The 24-year-old brings that spark in attack in what often is a pretty dull team, in an attacking sense. Hence, Newcastle fans will hope that Saint-Maximin will produce his magic and help Newcastle register their first win.
Leeds United are yet to hit their stride this season, but Patrick Bamford has started this season right from where he ended the previous one. He has already hit the ground running with his decisive goal against Burnley and has also produced an assist in the first four matches. The Englishman was in sensational form in the Premier League last season. He finished the season with 17 goals and was only behind the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane in the goalscoring charts.
Apart from netting 17 goals in the Premier League he also produced eight assists and guided Leeds to a respective ninth-placed finish last season. Bamford is known for his exceptional movement near the penalty box and his positioning. If he gets the right delivery, he can be a genuine threat for the Newcastle backline as they have been shaky since the first game. It will be interesting to see if Bamford can find the net and help Leeds register their first win of this season.
Captain and Vice-Captain Selection
Patrick Bamford recently made his debut for England, and it was totally justified, as he has been in sublime form for Leeds United for quite a while now. He has also scored his first goal of the season and will be the ideal choice for captaincy. For vice-captaincy, we have gone with Allan Saint-Maximin, who will lead the lines for Newcastle United in Callum Wilson’s absence.
MPL Fantasy XI
Note: The players recommended here need not be a part of the Playing 11 on game day. Users are advised to do their own research also and follow official sources and create their teams.