With injury, suspension and African Cup of Nations intervening, there is a more limited pool of players to choose from for the Newcastle team v Brentford.
Nevertheless, some interesting choices still need to be made for the starting eleven.
One thing for sure, is that Rafa Benitez won’t be making a snap late decision on his selection, he will have decided well in advance and drilled his players throughout the past week in terms of what he expects the to do.
The FA Cup saw Rafa take a sizeable leap, when going with a 3-5-2/5-3-2 system and accommodate two strikers.
I would love to see the experiment continue today, as I think it has the potential to really work at both ends of the pitch – the main benefit being that Dwight Gayle won’t be isolated as he has tended to be recently and the formation/selection allowing Newcastle to create more chances whilst they await Shelvey’s return.
Murphy has the confidence of a his first Newcastle goal and a decent display behind him and he can play a supporting role to the number nine.
At the opposite end of the pitch, I find myself quite comfortable with Paul Dummett in the team when he simply has to defend – his ability going forward is minimal and Ciaran Clark also has great ability to bring the ball out of defence if one of three centre-backs.
Lazaar and Yedlin have both the skill and energy to operate as wing-backs and showed more than enough against Birmingham for both them and the system to get another go.
Rafa indicated that the wing-back system eventually faltered at Birmingham due to a lack of legs in midfield, with Hayden & Ritchie replacing Tiote & Anita that will be a massive advantage compared to Saturday.
Whilst many would have Gouffran in the team, I do think that despite disappointing, Jack Colback is needed in this potential starting eleven, with a more attacking emphasis in the team overall.
My choice of Newcastle team v Brentford:
To create the image above, John 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 20k 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.
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.