Newcastle Must Rest Players Against Benfica
All Eyes Must Be On Sunday, Not Thursday.
Papiss Cisse wants to win. Alan Pardew wants to win. The whole of Newcastle wants to win.
On Sunday, that is.
The Tyne and Wear derby is of vital importance, as it could well be the difference between having a more relaxed run in to the end of the season, or having a real nail biter.
Considering the Magpies next three fixtures are Sunderland, West Brom and Liverpool, it is not unreasonable to suggest that six points is the most that we can hope to achieve. A loss against the Mackams will put the whole city, and squad, on edge going into the Albion game – which then becomes a must win.
West Brom have been a curious team this season. For so many years, Newcastle would expect to go to the Hawthorns and walk away with a victory. Not this season. Steve Clarke’s men have been performing way above everybody’s expectations. In fact, they are the Newcastle from last season.
All of this means that the main focus of the team must be directed to the derby and not the Europa League clash with Benfica. The Portuguese side are going to be a difficult one to overcome, especially when a two goal deficit is hanging over our heads. That two goal deficit that is likely to increase due to the fact that they have scored over 100 goals already this season.
Put plainly, the odds are simply stacked too high against Newcastle for it to justify going all out and playing every available first choice player. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, and not one that I would like to have to take, but in the grander scheme of things it is beginning to look like a necessary evil.
For that reason, Newcastle should be thankful that they have had a good run in the competition, have beaten good sides in close games, and they should concentrate on staying in the league.
When that has been accomplished, 2013/2014 is the season to kick on and seek a European adventure. As long as the squad is kept together, there is real quality and an improved strength in depth that will be able to withstand the rigours of a long season – both domestic and European.
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