With the welcome return of proper football and Derby v Newcastle on Saturday, we were asking fans who they would like to see playing up front as United look to build on a four match winning run.
Injuries (Gayle and Mitrovic) and players not yet signed (Murphy) had conspired to leave Rafa Benitez with no choice against Brighton, playing Ayoze Perez as the main striker with Mohamed Diame in a free role just behind.
However, it looks now as though the Newcastle boss will have a relative embarrassment of riches this weekend, at last able to make a positive choice in deciding who out of Gayle, Mitrovic, Perez, Diame and Murphy fill the two main attacking roles.
With four goals in four Championship starts we made Dwight Gayle surely a certainty to be selected, so the question was, who would play alongside him?
A bit of background to the possibilities:
Fair to say that most Newcastle fans would have envisaged Mitrovic teaming up with Gayle in that game against Brighton, the Serbian having served his four match suspension.
Whilst Perez struggled as the main striker in that game against the Seagulls, Mohamed Diame appeared to revel in that free role behind the centre forward, rather than playing out wide.
Daryl Murphy has of course also arrived and will be in great spirits after that excellent headed goal for Ireland on Monday night.
Conversely, Aleksandar Mitrovic looked sluggish and struggled in the hour he was on the pitch against Ireland, plus he didn’t show much in the short time he was on the pitch against Cheltenham in that cup match.
Maybe there is also the option of Ayoze Perez to consider, maybe not as the main striker but up front with/behind Gayle, the Spaniard scoring twice against Cheltenham, one of them a real quality finish.
So thanks to all who took part and the votes are now counted – the Newcastle fan preference is:
38% Play Gayle and Mitrovic up front
31% Play Gayle with Diame behind him
27% Play Gayle and Murphy up front
4% Play Gayle and Perez up front
Interesting to see the votes so evenly split between three of the four options, plus of course Mohamed Diame will have a place in the team no matter whether he is played up front or on the wing/midfield.
The only vote that counts of course is Rafa’s, plus the massive bonus is that no matter who he picks to start, the United manager will at last also have very strong options to come off the bench to influence the game.