A high-flying Newcastle United host a struggling Leeds United outfit this Saturday, as both teams look to build momentum in their performances moving into a demanding run of fixtures. Having secured a comfortable victory 0-3 victory over Leicester City last time around, the hosts will be keen on building on their impressive 13-game unbeaten run across all competition whilst the visitors will be looking to bounce back to winning ways after enduring consecutive losses in the league ahead of weekend’s fixture.
Sitting only two points behind second-placed Manchester City in the league table, Newcastle will be keen on remaining consistent in their performances as Eddie Howe’s side aim to secure a top-four finish at the end of the campaign. With the Magpies having, arguably, been the most improved team this season, the club will be looking to continue building on their momentum over the remainder of the campaign.
On the other hand, having struggled for consistency in results, Leeds will be keen on bouncing back to winning ways on Saturday. Positioned only two points above 18th-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers, Jesse March’s side remain in need of victories as the club looks to avoid a relegation battle moving forward. With the team having won only two of their last five league outings, the Yorkshire outfit will be looking to settle for nothing but three points against Newcastle this weekend.
When & Where?
Venue: St. James’ Park.
Date: Saturday, 31st December 2022.
Time: 15:00 GMT.
Referee: Simon Hooper.
Assistant Referees: Adrian Holmes, Mark Scholes.
Fourth Official: Craig Pawson.
VAR Official: Michael Salisbury.
Jonjo Shelvey, Paul Dummett, and Alexander Isak remain out of contention due to injuries although striker Callum Wilson could return to the match-day squad after missing out on the trip to Leicester owing to illness. Matt Ritchie is expected to retain his place in the match-day squad after making a brief appearance in the team’s last outing, with the midfielder needing to build up match fitness after missing out on the majority of the ongoing campaign.
With the team having performed consistently on the pitch, Howe is unlikely to make changes to the starting line-up against Leeds. Favourites for the three points on Saturday, the Magpies will be keen on delivering, yet another, notable display on home turf.
Patrick Bamford remains a doubt for the fixture owing to a groin injury while Mateusz Klich is unlikely to be considered for a place in the match-day squad over a potential transfer to the MLS. Tyler Adams is expected to slot back into the starting line-up after serving his suspension, while both Jack Harrison and Crysencio Summerville are likely to push for a place in the starting line-up against Newcastle.
With both teams needing a victory to bolster their prospects for the campaign moving forward, Saturday’s tie is likely to produce a goal-fest at St. James’ Park. Having secured victories in each of their last five league outings, the hosts will be keen on keeping up with Arsenal and Manchester City as they aim for only their second top-half finish in half a decade. On the other hand, needing to return to winning ways if they are to avoid a relegation battle, Leeds will be looking for an improvement in their performance alongside securing a positive result this weekend.
Expected to employ an attacking approach from the onset, Newcastle are likely to make the best use of spaces available across Leeds’ defensive third on Saturday. Having been dominant across all areas of the pitch in recent outings, the Magpies are expected to build their approach on a strong midfield aiming to provide excellent use of possession in transition whilst relying on their wingers and full-backs to overload the wide areas of the pitch. Additionally, offering a credible threat on set-pieces, the hosts will be keen on maximising their potential in the area, with the team likely to aim for an early breakthrough this weekend.
Meanwhile, expected to rely on their high-press approach to turnover possession in key areas within the opposition’s half, Leeds will be keen on unsettling Newcastle from the first whistle on Saturday. Although having struggled for points, the visitors have netted goals in each of their last five league outings, and are likely to retain their attacking approach in a bid to disrupt the home side on Saturday. Likely to rely on their boisterous midfield and attackers, the visitors will be keen on keeping it tight at the back alongside utilising counter-attacking opportunities to great effect against Newcastle.
Miguel Almiron – Newcastle United
Amongst the most prolific forwards in the league this season, Almiron emerges as the likeliest of players to test Leeds’ defensive organisation on Saturday. Having netted goals in each of his last four league outings, the Paraguayan agility and distinctive possessional attributes are likely to disrupt the opposition’s contingency plans for the winger this weekend.
Rodrigo – Leeds United
Boasting notable pace and movement across the attacking third, Rodrigo will be keen on finding the back of the net against Newcastle. With Leeds needing to play to the best of their potential if they are to test the home side’s defence, the Spaniard will be keen on finding the back of the net this weekend.
Newcastle United predicted lineup vs Leeds United: Nick Pope; Kieran Trippier, Fabian Schar, Sven Botman, Dan Burn; Sean Longstaff, Bruno Guimaraes, Joe Willock; Miguel Almiron, Callum Wilson, Joelinton.
Leeds United predicted lineup vs Newcastle United: Illan Meslier; Rasmus Kristensen, Liam Cooper, Robin Koch, Pascal Struijk; Tyler Adams, Marc Roca; Wilfried Gnoto, Brenden Aaronson, Crysencio Summerville; Rodrigo Moreno.