Predicted Newcastle team v Burnley on Monday night
This is the predicted Newcastle team v Burnley for Monday’s match.
Rafa Benitez wrong-footed a lot of supporters when going with the same team for Crystal Palace, that had started against Southampton in the previous match.
I don’t think we will see a repeat of that.
That last game was a great result but a very poor match and not a great performance.
Well, at least it wasn’t going forward.
At the back it was a clean sheet and not a single Crystal Palace shot on target for Rob Elliot to save, so difficult to see any changes in the back five. The centre of defence is clearly the strongest part of the squad but the likes of Clark and Mbemba will have to bide their time, the latter likely not even going to make the squad once again.
Of the front six though, I would only be 100% confident about Matt Ritchie retaining his place.
Mikel Merino will surely come back in for this one. He vastly improved the team when coming on for the final half hour at Southampton, Perez making way, then it was a similar story against Palace – Merino coming on for Hayden this time and scoring the winner.
The only question for me is whether it will be Shelvey or Hayden that Mikel Merino comes in for, unless Rafa decides to find a place for all three….as he did in that final half hour at Southampton when they appeared to work well as a trio with Shelvey in a more advanced position.
However, I have gone for Merino and Shelvey as a central pair.
Atsu again didn’t do enough against Palace but with Rolando Aarons not even getting on the bench and Jacob Murphy seemingly not ready, the Ghanaian international is likely to keep his place.
The front two positions are once again though the main source of interest.
Joselu and Perez have played together the last seven Premier League games and it has been four wins, two draws, and only the one defeat.
On the surface it looks like something that doesn’t need fixing but the less generous would claim that at times it has been despite the Spanish pair being on the pitch, rather than them having any real positive impact.
Against Palace it was especially pronounced, with neither of them really getting in the game, and Newcastle not really having a serious effort apart from a long-range Shelvey effort before Merino’s late winner.
Perez looks most at risk with Diame looking as though he has at last woken up, it was his introduction that appeared to be the main catalyst for Newcastle sparking into life against Palace. Against what is sure to be a tough physical Burnley team, Diame must surely be in line to start.
Up front, Rafa Benitez has left us guessing about his intention for the main striking role.
“We had Dwight doing well last year and scoring a lot of goals.
“This year Joselu is doing well and then it is ‘oh…Dwight is not playing’.
“And then it is Mitrovic – Mitro was playing the other day (late sub v Crystal Palace).
“Dwight is coming back from injury so he will be available.
“It depends on how many strikers you want on the bench, or if you play with two strikers.
“Mitrovic and Dwight are training well so we have to decide.”
It is difficult to make a case for why any of the trio should start ahead of the other pair but if Dwight Gayle is fully fit, I think he will be given a chance, which may help Joselu who maybe needs to be taken out of the firing line and maybe will work better as an impact sub at Burnley….if needed.
The predicted Newcastle team v Burnley:
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