Newcastle United v Brighton: Predicted Starting Line-up
Photo Credit - (Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Steve Bruce will be hoping that his side can maintain their early season form when Brighton & Hove Albion come to St James' Park.

The Magpies' debutants have impressed so far this season with Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick scoring in the 2-0 win over West Ham United before Ryan Fraser scored the only goal of the game in his first outing against Blackburn Rovers.

The opposition

Since the two sides were promoted together from the Championship in the 2016/17 season, Newcastle have failed to win any of the six games played between the two sides.

Graham Potter's side have earned a reputation of trying to play an attractive brand of football and maintain possession in games.

This was shown the last time the clubs met as Brighton boasted 62% of the ball in the goalless draw in July.

The Seagulls fell to a 3-1 defeat to Chelsea in the opening game of the season but were unfortunate not to get something out of the game.

They had more possession and more attempts on goal than Frank Lampard's side.

Albion lined up in a 3-5-2 formation against the Blues with wing-back Tariq Lamptey winning many plaudits for his performance against his former club.

Tactics & Formation 

Bruce shocked many Toon fans with the line-up against the Hammers, opting for a 4-4-2 with Callum Wilson and Andy Carroll leading the line.

The system worked well for the season opener and it is unlikely Bruce will change it up.

This seems to be the likely formation Bruce will opt for, at least until Fraser reaches peak match fitness.

Mark Gillespie will have given Bruce plenty to think about in his impressive debut midweek but Karl Darlow is yet to do anything wrong and as such deserves to keep his place between the sticks for the league games.

Due to injuries, the back four pretty much picks itself for Sunday's game, Javier Manquillo, Federico Fernandez, Jamaal Lascelles and Jamal Lewis will all keep their place in the side.

Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden won the midfield battle against Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek at the London Stadium whilst Jeff Hendrick scored one and set up another. Allan Saint-Maximin will continue to be one of the first names on the team sheet.

Bruce is not short of options in the midfield and Miguel Almiron and Ryan Fraser also showing promising signs.

It would be harsh to take Hendrick out of the side following his performance last week so it is likely they will have to settle for an impact role from the bench.

Wilson and Carroll has the potential to be a great striking partnership and Joelinton did not give his manager anything to think about with his performance in the cup.

Prediction 

Brighton will have a lot of the ball and will make Newcastle work extremely hard to get any rhythm into their game.

Steve Bruce's side have the quality to hurt Albion and Saint-Maximin will be crucial in dragging his side up the pitch.

In previous meetings, United have not possessed the firepower to break down the Seagulls and as such have scored just one goal in the six times the clubs have met in the Premier League.

However, with the movement and knowhow of Wilson up top, I think United will edge out a tight game with the former Bournemouth man grabbing the only goal of the game.

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