Here is the predicted Newcastle team v Aston Villa that I think Rafa Benitez will choose for tonight’s game.

Rafa admitted after the draw at Norwich, how it had even been difficult deciding who made his bench at Carrow Road.

The United boss ended up leaving the likes of Lazaar, Murphy and others out of his matchday 18 last Tuesday night.

Hayden is missing after an operation, along with Aarons, plus surely too early to consider Anita as he returned to training only on Friday.

After Mitrovic’ wasteful shooting in that 2-2 draw, it surely only rubber stamps the return of Dwight Gayle to the team tonight.

Behind him, I don’t see an awful lot else changing.

Many fans would like to see Christian Atsu given a go and give United a greater attacking emphasis but Rafa Benitez will surely more likely go with what has served him well so far. Atsu has only started six league games and Gouffran looks set to continue.

With Ritchie looking a certainty on the other side, it is set to be a very likely choice of Perez or Diame behind Dwight Gayle.

The Spaniard got a goal and an assist against Norwich but my money would be on Diame to take his turn.

I would fancy Diame alongside Shelvey and it worked well late on at Norwich when the Senegal international came off the bench but once again, you would fancy Rafa to stick to the safer/more regular choice of Jack Colback in Hayden’s absence.

The back five, barring injuries, seems to pretty much pick itself at the moment.

Whilst Darlow and Lascelles were both to blame for goals at Norwich, I don’t foresee any knee jerk reaction.

As for the subs, interesting to see who gets selected.

My predicted Rafa Benitez Newcastle team v Aston Villa:

newcastle team v aston villa

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.

Go to the NUFC team selector now and choose and share your Newcastle team v Aston Villa.

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Newcastle v Aston Villa Match Betting:

All  Newcastle v Aston Villa betting HERE

Gayle to score the first goal 10/3NUFC to win 3-1 15/1 NUFC to be winning at HT and FT 8/5

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