Not surprisingly talk has turned to the likely Newcastle team v Watford.
Pre-season pledges of all systems go for the cups will be put to the test, as Steve McClaren looks to avoid the slating that John Carver took a year ago.
After stating he would play his strongest team, Carver then left out all of Newcastle’s best players against bottom of the table Leicester.
The result – yet another third round exit.
Steve McClaren has already this week stated that the FA Cup match at Watford is just as important as any Premier League match.
He has put his head in the noose when it comes to his team selection, as Newcastle face Manchester United in a crucial Premier League game on the following Tuesday.
However, I think there is a way for a number of changes to be made on Saturday that will actually improve the team against Watford and have the bonus of a positive longer term spin-off for our Premier League chances.
I would make four changes to the Newcastle team v Watford.
The first to me is a no-brainer, Paul Dummett is the weakest player in the Newcastle team, whereas Kevin Mbabu showed real confidence, flair and pace when playing against Chelsea and Manchester City. If he doesn’t get a chance this Saturday then they might as well let him leave in June and not bother even offering another contract.
In the middle, I would give Jamaal Lascelles a try, he also has had to sit and watch as Newcastle prove once again that they have one of the worst defences in the league, only Villa and the mackems letting in more. Against the physical Ighalo and Deeney, Coloccini would be far too easily dominated anyway, just as in the league game earlier this season.
Perez was forced to be a square peg in a round hole again against Arsenal and Florian Thauvin must merit a chance on the left after being all but ignored, he would give balance and hopefully a decent supply into the box.
The final change I’d make would be to put Siem de Jong up close to Mitrovic and see if they can work out a partnership.
If Thauvin can get the crosses in, then with Wijnaldum, de Jong and Mitrovic’s ability in air then Newcastle could be in business. Plus de Jong’s three match run in the team helped produce seven points against Liverpool, Spurs and Villa.
Like Thauvin, he deserves a chance in a strong team to show what he can do.
If these kind of players are given a chance and it comes off, then the spin-off of the move could see them then make an impression in the Premier League in the remaining 18 games. Otherwise, if in desperation they are simply dropped into crucial Premier League matches, the chances of them producing will be much reduced.
My Newcastle team v Watford:
To create the image above I used the NUFC team selector.
You can do the same by following the simple instructions HERE and then there are a number of great options where you can then also share your team via Twitter (include @nufcthemag in your tweet and we will share some of them with our 16k+ followers) , or you can share the selector on Facebook with friends, family and the rest of the black and white world. Alternatively, simply downloading the team image to the device you are using
When using the NUFC team selector you simply click on what team formation (4-3-3, 4-4-2 etc) you want, then click each position on the pitch and choose from the Newcastle United squad.
Go to the NUFC team selector now and choose and share your Newcastle team v Watford.
Before every match, simply go to the menu at the top of this screen and click features, then on the drop down list click NUFC Team Selector and choose your team for every match.
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