Here is the predicted Newcastle team v Preston that I think Rafa Benitez will choose for Monday night at St James Park.
Only 10 days ago a great team performance against Leeds was only undone by poor finishing, inspired goalkeeping/defending from the visitors, then a late slip from the United backline.
Nothing wrong with the overall display, only failures at key moments denying a victory.
With a game at Ipswich less than 72 hours after that draw v Leeds, Rafa made five changes and the travelling supporters were treated to arguably the worst match of the season.
Whilst the Leeds game saw Newcastle play at a high tempo with lots of attacking initiative, the one at Portman Road was a disjointed affair with next to no cutting edge and some horrific defending by the team as a whole.
This was the team and subs Rafa selected v Leeds 10 days ago:
Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Mbemba, Dummett, Ritchie (Yedlin 84), Shelvey, Hayden (Colback 79), Gouffran, Perez (Diame 90), Mitrovic
Elliot, Hanley, Murphy, Atsu
I expect Rafa to revert to more of less that same team which played on Good Friday, with only a couple of key changes.
Whilst DeAndre Yedlin was poor along with the rest of them against Ipswich, it was his first start in two months due to injury and I think after another week of training to focus him, he will be selected ahead of Vurnon Anita.
Whilst if Ciaran Clark has came through these last few days of training ok, he must surely come in for Grant Hanley who along with Jamaal Lascelles was really poor at Ipswich.
I would be tempted to play Clark and Mbemba but little/zero chance of Rafa Benitez doing that at such a late/key stage of the season.
Daryl Murphy was one of the few to do himself justice at Portman Road and scored his fifth Championship goal in six starts (plus seven appearances off the bench) but Mitrovic looked much improved against Leeds and sparked off the better atmosphere, so I fancy the Serbian will get another chance by the United boss.
My predicted Rafa Benitez Newcastle team v Preston:
To create the image above, Sam used the NUFC team selector.
You can do the same by following the simple instructions HERE and then there are a number of great options where you can then also share your team via Twitter (include @nufcthemag in your tweet and we will share some of them with our 20k+ followers) , or you can share the selector on Facebook with friends, family and the rest of the black and white world. Alternatively, simply downloading the team image to the device you are using
When using the NUFC team selector you simply click on what team formation (4-3-3, 4-4-2 etc) you want, then click each position on the pitch and choose from the Newcastle United squad.
Go to the NUFC team selector now and choose and share your Newcastle team v Preston.
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