An ‘interesting’ Newcastle team v Birmingham.

Rafa Benitez revealing his team and subs an hour before kick-off.

A number of surprises as Rafa looks to get his side back into winning mode.

Just in case you missed it, this is his starting eleven today:

newcastle team v birmingham

What about this team though that you could have picked from those that are missing through injury, illness and Rafa deciding to leave them out:

newcastle team v birmingham

Of this second team:

Left out: Elliot, Lazaar, Mbemba, Atsu, Mitrovic, Gayle, Shelvey (has been ill this week which played major part in decision)

Injured: Yedlin, Clark, Hayden, Aarons

One thing it does illustrate is just how big the squad is and arguably how little there is to choose between many members of the squad in the various positions.

If everybody was fit then my team would be:

Darlow, Yedlin, Clark, Mbemba, Dummett, Ritchie, Hayden, Shelvey, Atsu, Murphy, Gayle

So on that basis, whatever the reasons for them being in or out of the team (injury/Rafa decision), there are what I consider only four of our best players starting in the game today – Darlow, Dummett, Ritchie & Murphy.

I think this international break is coming up just at the right time, a chance for Rafa and his team to regroup, hopefully after putting this poor Birmingham side away today.

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])

City Hall Gifts -