Newcastle United return to Premier League action - and they have a big opportunity to put their Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester United firmly behind them.
The Toon Army painted London black and white last weekend but returned to the North East empty-handed as the 68-year wait for a trophy goes on. But in the league, there is still plenty to play for, with European qualification up for grabs.
With the Magpies distracted by their first cup final in 24 years, one win in seven has saw Eddie Howe’s men slip out of the top four and into fifth.
Howe is determined to get his side back to the levels they showed pre-World Cup - starting with Premier League champions Manchester City this afternoon (kick-off 12:30pm).
With Nick Pope and Anthony Gordon back available after missing the cup final, and concerns over Callum Wilson’s recent lack of goals, Howe has a couple of selection dilemmas.
Here’s the Newcastle United starting XI we’re predicting Howe to name:
1. Newcastle United's English head coach Eddie Howe (R) and Newcastle United's assistant coach Jason Tindall (L) watch from the touchline during the English League Cup final football match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Wembley Stadium, north-west London on February 26, 2023. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe (right) and assistant Jason Tindall (left). (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
2. GK: Nick Pope
An immediate return to the starting XI for Pope after serving his one-match ban against Man United in the Carabao Cup final. Photo: Gareth Copley
3. RB: Kieran Trippier
Trippier, a boyhood Man United fan, was once on the books at Man City. The England right-back scored an excellent free-kick in the previous meeting. Photo: Eddie Keogh
4. CB: Fabian Schar
The defeat against Liverpool last time out was the first Schar has tasted in a black and white shirt this season. Photo: ADRIAN DENNIS