Here is the predicted Newcastle team v Norwich that I think Rafa Benitez will choose for tonight’s game.
Norwich will offer a very different challenge to Newcastle compared to Wolves on Saturday and I think Rafa Benitez will look to make changes.
The Canaries are fighting back after falling away in the Autumn and with five wins and only one defeat in the last seven, plus maybe feeling they have a point to prove having been relegated with Newcastle, they could arguably prove to be a more difficult opponent than those in the top four or five.
Mitrovic scored the goal but did little else other than be a magnet for trouble, some of it unjustified, on Saturday.
Dwight Gayle is back in the squad after a hamstring problem but the smart money is on him starting from the bench, which would allow Daryl Murphy another chance to build on the promise of his performances and goals last month.
Personally, I hope Rafa sticks with Mohamed Diame behind the main striker and I think he will, Perez hasn’t been at the races recently and the Senegal international can make Newcastle more solid and hopefully help provide a threat.
With Matt Ritchie an automatic choice after providing both goals and graft over recent weeks, I see Gouffran as the player to make way and allow Christian Atsu a rare start.
The Ghanaian international gave Newcastle pace & composure and allowed the Magpies to get possession in the Wolves half much more in the second period, so I can can see him in the first eleven.
Jonjo Shelvey ran the gauntlet at Wolves and was a little more subdued than normal, with Isaac Hayden hopefully back in alongside him, Newcastle can get on the front foot. Rafa says he is waiting to see how Hayden’s ankle is before deciding on his availability but if fit, it would be a major lift if he replaces Jack Colback.
The back five – very difficult to imagine any changes unless injury/fitness issues forced it.
Wolves had plenty of possession but Darlow didn’t have a serious save to make on Saturday as the defence were resolute.
My predicted Rafa Benitez Newcastle team v Norwich:
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