Here is the predicted Newcastle team v Derby that I think Rafa Benitez will choose on Saturday afternoon.
A capacity crowd will be hoping/expecting the players to bounce back after a strange performance against QPR.
Starting off like a house on fire, Shelvey scored a quality goal within 30 odd seconds but bizarrely that goal was like popping a balloon as the players totally lost their way for the rest of the half.
Yes, Newcastle still had their moments but QPR were well on top as United put in a display riddled with mistakes.
They did raise their game a bit in the second half and took the lead again but couldn’t finish them off, then conceded late on in the half once again, as nerves produced mistakes.
So what will Rafa do to change things today?
The United boss confirmed that as well as longer-term absentees Aarons and Anita, he would also be missing Colback and Gayle who weren’t ready to return yet, plus Atsu is still away in Gabon.
Looking at the bench on Wednesday night, the options aren’t massive.
I think he will make two changes, the first being a pretty obvious one (in my opinion anyway), with Mohamed Diame coming in for Ayoze Perez who was poor against QPR and missed a number of chances.
Rafa doesn’t seem to have any great confidence in Aleksandar Mitrovic and when taking Murphy off against QPR, he didn’t turn to the Serbian and instead improvised by moving Gouffran up front.
Daryl Murphy didn’t do much wrong and was just starved of service, so I think he will be relied on again but with Diame hopefully giving him a bit more help.
Sammy Ameobi was first change in midweek but didn’t show anything that suggested he should get a chance, so I think we will have to wait for Christian Atsu’s return before Gouffran sees his place under pressure.
In Colback’s absence Isaac Hayden looks safe despite being another to underperform, whilst Shelvey and Ritchie were easily United’s best performers going forward against Rangers.
I think though Rafa will make one change to his defence and Jamaal Lascelles will be rested, with Grant Hanley given a chance.
Ciaran Clark may have scored that own goal but as always he was easily Newcastle’s best defender on Wednesday whilst his central defensive partner hit rock bottom. The United Captain has struggled for some weeks now and looked both mentally and physically knackered.
Lascelles repeatedly gave the ball away and whilst he is not the quickest anyway, he appeared to lack any pace at all, especially in the later stages of the game.
Many fans would like to see Lazaar given a chance but the United boss still doesn’t seem to think he is ready for the Championship, even though Dummett offers nothing going forward and often gets exposed for pace if one on one with his opponent.
I think a number of players would have seen their positions under threat but with Gayle, Colback, Mbemba, Anita and Atsu all missing, more or less the same team will get the chance to get United back on track.
My predicted Rafa Benitez Newcastle team v Derby:
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