Here is the predicted Newcastle team v Burton that I think Rafa Benitez will choose for tonight’s game.
Yedlin, Clark and Aarons are all ruled out, whilst Daryl Murphy is also reported to be doubtful.
One player who surely will come into the team is Isaac Hayden.
Rafa eased him in as a substitute on Saturday against Wigan and with Jack Colback turning in what has become his regular poor performance, the United boss will almost certainly reunite the former Arsenal player with Jonjo Shelvey in the middle of the pitch.
Even if Murphy was passed fit, Dwight Gayle is set to lead the line again after a confidence boosting goal on Saturday against Wigan topped off a display that suggested he is regaining much of his early season sharpness after injury.
The supply lines were poor on Saturday with only man of the match Matt Ritchie really producing.
I think we will see one more change in the attacking side of things with Christian Atsu in for Gouffran. The Frenchman offered nothing going forward and with yet another defensive unit to face Newcastle tonight, the Ghanaian winger should get his chance despite fading in recent performances.
As for the Perez/Diame choice…always had to call but against a physical opposition tonight I think maybe Rafa will stick with the man from Senegal, rather than a lightweight/lacking pace Perez. Mohamed Diame can’t take his place for granted and to be honest he was shocking against Wigan, most of the game he was controlling the ball further than I can kick it!
However, Rafa has shown no interest in changing his formation or deviating from choosing only between Perez and Diame for that number 10 role, so one of them it will be.
With Yedlin out there appears to be no threat to either full-back position, as Rafa Benitez shows no inclination of giving Jesus Gamez or Achraf Lazaar a game.
Karl Darlow is clear number one now but if Ciaran Clark had been fit, we could have seen an interesting dilemma tonight.
With Mbemba totally out of favour, Hanley and Lascelles faced Wigan, not ideal at all to have two painfully slow players together in the middle, especially with neither of them confident on the ball.
Hanley didn’t do much wrong against a limited Wigan but Lascelles once again struggled, at fault for the goal and looking way below what is needed if Newcastle do get promotion.
As and when Ciaran Clark is fit, he must come back into the team as Newcastle’s best defender by some distance, but interesting to see who makes way.
Three points will take Newcastle back above Brighton, so let’s hope the players respond to the manager’s urgings and up their game from Saturday.
My predicted Rafa Benitez Newcastle team v Burton:
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