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May 24, 2024 at 8.15am UK
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Preview: A-League All Stars vs. Newcastle United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's friendly clash between A-League All Stars and Newcastle United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Just two days on from locking horns with Tottenham Hotspur in Melbourne, Newcastle United take part in this year's A-League All Stars match on Friday at Melbourne's Marvel Stadium.

Eddie Howe's men conclude their post-season tour after edging out Spurs on penalties following a 1-1 draw, while the All-Stars are yet to beat any European foe in this one-off fixture.

Match preview

Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe applauds fans after the match on April 24, 2024© Reuters

Three times the A-League All Stars have pitted their wits against revered European opposition, and three times the Aussies have come out on the wrong end of the scoreline, firstly succumbing to a harrowing 5-1 loss against Manchester United in the inaugural edition in 2013.

One year later, the All Stars were only undone by an injury-time goal from Simone Pepe in a 3-2 loss to Juventus - where Paul Pogba was also among the scorers - but the authorities subsequently did away with the concept until reigniting the friendly matchup in 2022, hosting Barcelona.

On that occasion, Australia's finest were also condemned to a 3-2 defeat as Ousmane Dembele, Adama Traore and Ansu Fati did the damage, and a clash against Bayern Munich was in the works for the 2023 edition, but a deal fell through due to the governing body's refusal to shell out the German side's lucrative appearance fee.

Rather than an eight-year lull in between All Stars games, though, the A-League aficionados have only been kept waiting another 12 months to welcome another European titan down under, while a women's match involving 15-time national champions Arsenal will also be played on Friday.

The two battles come just one day before Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory square off in the 2024 A-League Grand Final, and Patrick Kisnorbo - a former Leeds United, Ipswich Town and Leicester City player who recently managed French outfit Troyes - is the man tasked with overseeing a famous All Stars success.

Newcastle United players celebrate after Harvey Barnes scores against Brentford on May 19, 2024© Reuters

The hosts' chances of a memorable European scalp are ostensibly higher than in previous years, as Newcastle make a swift return to Melbourne turf barely 48 hours on from an all-Premier League friendly with Tottenham Hotspur, and a controversial one to say the least.

Taking their players halfway across the world just three days after the top-flight campaign came to an end was lambasted as a ridiculous decision, but both Eddie Howe and Ange Postecoglou saw fit to name strong starting lineups, albeit with in-game substitutions in the double figures.

After Alexander Isak cancelled out a James Maddison goal on the stroke of half time, Newcastle held out in the second period and forced a penalty shootout, where Bryan Gil's opening missed spot kick proved costly as Howe's men notched a perfect tally of five from the spot.

All five of Newcastle's penalty scorers were on the youthful side, including 19-year-old winger Garang Kuol, who reunites with some former A-League colleagues one-and-a-half years on from joining the Magpies from Central Coast Mariners; he has since spent time on loan with Hearts and Dutch side FC Volendam.

Newcastle United friendly form:

Newcastle United form (all competitions):

Team News

Newcastle United's Kieran Trippier arrives at the stadium before the match on December 26, 2023© Reuters

A-League All Stars manager Kisnorbo has called upon a selection of 21 players for Friday's All-Stars contest, including one English representative in 32-year-old defender Scott Wootton, once of Liverpool and Manchester United's academies.

Wootton is one of five non-Australian or New Zealanders in the All Stars selection, a list also comprising experienced Brazilian centre-back Marcelo, who made a name for himself in European football with Lyon and PSV Eindhoven before joining Western Sydney Wanderers.

The hosts can also call upon German midfielder Tolgay Arslan, who ended three years at Udinese to join Melbourne City last year and recently enjoyed a heart-warming reunion with Tottenham skipper and close friend Son Heung-min, whom he played alongside at Hamburger SV.

Meanwhile, Newcastle's travelling party for Australia did not include the banned Sandro Tonali or any of their seven injury victims in Sven Botman, Jamaal Lascelles, Lewis Miley, Matt Targett, Joe Willock, Tino Livramento or Anthony Gordon, although the latter has been called up to England's Euro 2024 training squad.

Howe also took Kieran Trippier off in the first half of Wednesday's clash with Tottenham, although it has since been revealed that the right-back's substitution was a pre-planned one, allowing England fans to breathe a little easier.

Trippier will almost certainly be sacrificed alongside the majority of Wednesday's starters, though, offering the likes of Kuol, Mark Gillespie and Harrison Ashby - scorer of the winning penalty against Tottenham - chances to impress.

A-League All Stars possible starting lineup:
Thomas; Grant, Trewin, Marcelo, Garuccio; Arslan, Hollman; Leckie, Kraev, Irankunda; Taggart

Newcastle United possible starting lineup:
Gillespie; Ashby, Thompson, A. Murphy, Charlton; White, Hernes, De Bolle; J. Murphy, Wilson, Kuol

SM words green background

We say: A-League All Stars 2-3 Newcastle United

Should Howe see fit to rest most of the big-hitters who started Wednesday's beating of Tottenham, things may go a bit pear-shaped for a youthful Newcastle team from the first whistle against an experienced All Stars selection.

The Magpies' celebrated names should be able to play a part in the second half, though, and as such, we can envisage another high-scoring All Stars match ending with the A-League crop on the wrong end of the result.

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