Here is the predicted Newcastle team v Cardiff that I think Rafa Benitez will choose for Friday night in Wales.
I fancy that the United boss could make at least six changes to the side that confirmed promotion with the win over Preston.
This was the team and subs Rafa selected v Preston on Monday:
Elliot, Anita, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Hayden, Atsu, Perez, Mitrovic
Darlow, Yedlin, Mbemba, Colback, Gouffran, Diame, Murphy
The Manager stated yesterday that at least six players wouldn’t be involved tonight, including three who started against Preston.
Rafa Benitez – Thursday 27 April:
“In terms of injuries, we have some players who were playing with little problems – Lascelles, Ritchie, Hanley, Anita. Also, Gamez has a problem and Gayle is still not available.
“So with these players, we will try to fix their problems now because we have more time.
“They will not be in the squad (for Cardiff).
“If everything is fine, they will be ready as soon as possible, not for this game but maybe for the next game (final day v Barnsley).”
My guess is that Rafa Benitez is looking to ensure he looks after players who have served him well this season, so they can play in the finale against Barnsley in front of a packed house at home.
Hence the likes of Lascelles, Anita and maybe one or two others, being looked after.
Starting from the back, Elliot could well get another match under his belt, then potentially Karl Darlow getting the recognition by starting against Barnsley.
The back four look to almost pick themselves in the absence of Anita, Gamez, Hanley and Lascelles, with only maybe Lazaar getting a very surprising call-up to rest Dummett but I can’t see it.
With Ritchie suspended, you would think Atsu and Gouffran would both play, once again unless Rafa makes a big surprise choice such as Ameobi or Aarons.
In the middle, Colback getting a game in place of Hayden wouldn’t surprise you.
Whilst up front, very likely Rafa will give Diame and Murphy their turn in place of Perez and Mitrovic.
My predicted Rafa Benitez Newcastle team v Cardiff:
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 Cardiff.
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.
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])