The predicted Newcastle team v Huddersfield
Some interesting choices for Rafa Benitez to make in his Newcastle team v Huddersfield.
Events six days ago mean that sadly the United boss has the added problem of making a minimum of three enforced changes.
Paul Dummett and Florian Lejeune forced off injured in the first-half, before Jonjo Shelvey picked up his daft red card three minutes into the second-half.
Joselu has been signed in time to be involved, training this week with the rest of the first team.
Rafa Benitez though has to still wait to see whether these next 12 days will see him land the essential signings he believes are still needed.
In the meantime, I see the Newcastle team v Huddersfield lining up along these lines (4-4-1-1):
The above would represent four changes to the starting eleven against Tottenham and here are a few observations at why I think Rafa will go with this eleven.
Elliot will obviously keep his place with no new keeper arriving and I think the back four did well, after the enforced changes last Sunday. Unless the manager changed to some kind of three/five at the back, I can’t see anything other than this defensive line. Jesus Gamez would be the potential one to come in but I can’t see him getting a game ahead of those named above, so Ciaran Clark to fill in at left-back again.
It’s a big ask but Mikel Merino looks set to make his Premier League debut. Only two previous starts in the top league of any country (two games for Dortmund), the young Spaniard will step in for Jonjo Shelvey – Jack Colback could have been a possibility but clearly Rafa is desperate to shift him and didn’t even include him in Thursday’s public training session.
Ritchie put a shift in last weekend, as did Hayden, whilst Christian Atsu was Newcastle’s most dangerous player against Spurs.
With no attacking midfielder signed, once again Rafa Benitez is left with a choice of Perez and Diame.
That is of course unless he played two up front, with possibly Joselu alongside Gayle. Difficult to see the United boss going with that option, particularly with the striker just through the door.
Gayle will surely start if fit, whilst I fancy Rafa Benitez to revert to Mohamed Diame.
Perez started last weekend and had a poor game, offering little going forward and his lack of pace once again a big handicap.
I actually thought Diame had simply been dropped from the squad last Sunday but it turned out he wasn’t able to be involved as he recovered from a knock.
The manager will be desperate to not get beat by Huddersfield and in Diame he may well see a player who can help him achieve that with his workrate and tracking back.
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