Fri 4 Aug 2023, 13:27 · NUFC News

Newcastle United vs. Fiorentina: Sela Cup match preview

Newcastle United vs. Fiorentina: Sela Cup match preview
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Having beaten Gateshead, Rangers, and Brighton, and drawn with Aston Villa and Chelsea so far this pre-season, Eddie Howe's Newcastle United are back at St. James' Park this weekend for the inaugural Sela Cup.

Fiorentina of Serie A provide the opposition on Saturday, with the kick-off at 3.30 p.m., as Howe looks to extend his side's unbeaten record this summer.

Earlier in the day, Villarreal of La Liga and Nice of Ligue 1 have a 12.30 p.m. kick-off, while Newcastle United Women will take on West Bromwich Albion Women at 6 p.m. (all times BST).

Here's everything you need to know about Newcastle's team news ahead of our sixth and penultimate friendly of 2023/24, along with details of the Sela Cup format, ticketing and TV information, some comments from Howe, and more:

What's the Sela Cup format?

It's a four-team league, effectively, offering three points for a win, one point for a draw, and an additional point per goal scored.

Here's the trophy the teams are playing for:

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Sela Cup

What's the latest team news?

Speaking to the media in his pre-match press conference on Friday morning, Howe confirmed that he would still be without Joe Willock (hamstring) and Emil Krafth (knee) for both days of the Sela Cup.

Sean Longstaff (unknown) is back in contention, though, having had a full week of training since returning from the US at the weekend. Fabian Schär (hamstring) is facing a late fitness test, meaning he may be more likely to feature on Sunday rather than Saturday, to give him an extra 24 hours of recovery.

Javier Manquillo also appears to be fit now, too, having been seen taking part in full training after missing the last couple of friendlies with a slight niggle. Harrison Ashby and Garang Kuol won't feature, with their respective loan moves to Swansea City of the Championship and FC Volendam of the Eredivisie to be confirmed later today.

This is everyone Howe should have available for selection against Fiorentina:

Goalkeepers: Nick Pope, Martin Dúbravka, Loris Karius, Mark Gillespie

Defenders: Kieran Trippier, Javier Manquillo, Fabian Schär, Jamaal Lascelles, Sven Botman, Paul Dummett, Dan Burn, Matt Targett, Alex Murphy, Remi Savage

Midfielders: Sandro Tonali, Sean Longstaff, Bruno Guimarães, Lewis Miley, Joelinton, Elliot Anderson, Matt Ritchie, Ben Parkinson, Jay Turner-Cooke, Jamile Miley

Forwards: Miguel Almirón, Jacob Murphy, Alexander Isak, Callum Wilson, Harvey Barnes, Anthony Gordon

How will Newcastle line up?

Having said he'll choose "balanced XIs" for the two games in his press conference, it seems that Howe will mix and match a little bit to ensure the crowd on both days gets to see some of his star names.

From the training video released yesterday on the official NUFC YouTube, it appears the two XIs that Howe will use this weekend are:

(4-3-3): Pope; Trippier, Lascelles, Botman, Targett; Longstaff, L. Miley, Anderson; Murphy, Isak, Barnes

(4-3-3): Dúbravka; Manquillo, Schär (Ritchie/A. Murphy), Dummett, Burn; Tonali, Guimarães, Joelinton; Almirón, Wilson, Gordon

Schär wasn't present in the video, naturally, meaning we could see Burn moving into centre-back and Ritchie or Alex Murphy getting a runout at left-back if he fails his fitness test.

The goalkeepers were never seen involved with the rest of the players in any meaningful way, either, so it's a toss-up in terms of which stopper will play on which day.

We'll go for the lineup with Pope in goal being the one that will take to the pitch against Fiorentina.

What kit will Newcastle be wearing?

It will be the famous black and white for Newcastle against Fiorentina, who should be fielding their traditional purple shirts, purple shorts, and purple socks.

What have the managers said about the match?

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We had a full pre-match press conference ahead of this one, so Howe had plenty of comments about Fiorentina and the Sela Cup in general:

"It's great to be back home, as it's been a long time since we played at St. James' Park. It's great to be back and I'm looking forward to the two games.

I think that's the beauty of the two games back-to-back (getting new supporters into the stadium). It's going to be a great spectacle. Hopefully, the weather is kind to us and the supporters. I think we'll get really good support, there'll be a really good atmosphere, and I'm hoping for two really good performances.

I always enjoy pre-season for that reason (the chance to test new things), when you're playing teams you wouldn't normally be playing. The European tests are slightly different, we're playing two teams from two different leagues, so it's a really good rehearsal for us.

We're expecting tough opposition. Fiorentina got to the final of the Europa Conference League and performed really well last season, they were well-placed in Serie A as well. We know they're both good teams and I think that's what we wanted in both games, we wanted tough examinations. If you look at our pre-season fixtures they're as hard as you can get with the purpose of preparing ourselves for the tough start we have.

I'm looking forward to both games and I know they'll be slightly different styles, but I think the general theme of play will be quite similar."

There's been nothing from Fiorentina manager Vincenzo Italiano, as yet, but if he does hold a press conference we'll be sure to update this article with his translated quotes.

Are tickets still available?

Plenty! We've written a couple of articles about how slowly the Sela Cup tickets have been selling, and as of lunchtime (1 p.m.) today, the day before the game, there are still over 800 available to purchase online from the official site. It's £30 for adults and £15 for concessions.

This is even before the upper Gallowgate has been put on sale, too. It also looks like Level 7 of the Milburn Stand and Leazes End will be closed to everyone except away supporters this weekend.

Cash turnstiles will be in operation in the Leazes West Corner (between the Leazes End and the Milburn Stand), for seating in Level 4 of that corner.

Where can the game be watched?

It's not being televised at all in the UK but is available to view overseas on DAZN Italy and TVM Sport+ Malta.

(If you need a VPN to watch the action online, we'd highly recommend Surfshark.)

What's Newcastle's head-to-head record with Fiorentina?

The two sides have only ever faced off once before in the Anglo-Italian Cup Final in Florence all the way back in 1973.

An own goal from Fiorentina goalkeeper Franco Superchi and an effort from David Craig helped bring the pre-season trophy back to Tyneside, with Bobby Moncur lifting the pot for Joe Harvey's side (and Terry Hibbitt dropping it on his way back down the stairs).

For what it's worth, here's the full head-to-head record:

PlayedWonDrew
Lost
For
Against

1

1

0

0

2

1

How about a score prediction?

The competition format is clearly looking to reward attacking play with additional points on offer for scoring goals. We're sure Howe will be imploring his players to treat the game as though it's a competitive fixture, too. As such, we'll go for 3-1 to Newcastle.