Newcastle United have a second round League Cup match against Nottingham Forest on Wednesday night.
On the surface it isn’t the most exciting of games but I am looking forward to it more than I did for Huddersfield on Sunday.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a right laugh – as you always do on an away match, a few drinks and all the patter, but the actual game I had very little expectation for.
Sadly I was proved right, not having a go at Rafa Benitez but with the injuries and Shelvey suspension I guessed the United boss wasn’t going to go crazy with his team selection and try something new.
Tomorrow night he can do though and I’m really looking forward to it.
I thought the last 10 minutes Jacob Murphy looked to have a bit about him and he is bound to start against Forest, so great to see what he can do.
Same with Rolando Aarons. He has had any number of injuries and when given the odd chances in the last year or two hasn’t threatened – but pre-season he looked decent and I think he could be ready to take his chance this time.
This is perfect for Rafa to experiment and one thing I would love to see is Matt Ritchie given a chance in the number 10 role.
Ayoze Perez is way off what is needed in the Premier League and Diame & de Jong don’t bear thinking about. Ritchie is the one player who has the quality and commitment to make that role a success and he can create as well as shoot from both inside and outside the box.
As for the main striker, Joselu can get a proper run out or even Mitrovic if Rafa chooses to give him the chance to prove him wrong.
In defence, with such a shortage of fit and available bodies, maybe time for the manager to have a look at playing three/five at the back, to see it might have potential for the Premier League.
Also, possibly organise the midfield based around Mikel Merino and what he can offer. Though at fault for Mooy’s goal, on only his third start in the top tier of any country I thought he looked a cool customer for much of the game. His composure was at odds with that of many of his teammates.
If I’m honest, I don’t think Rafa Benitez would be too upset if we did get knocked out, so why not try out some of what I’ve suggested above.
Nothing to lose and everything to potentially gain.
(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])