This is the predicted Newcastle team v Crystal Palace for today’s match.
Last weekend Rafa Benitez sprung a couple of surprises as Mikel Merino and Ciaran Clark dropped to the bench.
Against Palace, I fancy the United boss to mix it up once again.
Talking ahead of the game, Rafa Benitez gave an update on the injury situation yesterday. The only players ruled out are long-term injured Paul Dummett and Massadio Haidara, plus Dwight Gayle who picked up a calf problem when coming on last Sunday.
Mikel Merino was another one who came off the bench at Southampton, replacing Ayoze Perez.
Fans finally got a look at how things might go with the trio of Shelvey, Hayden and Merino all playing together, and Newcastle looked a better team for my money.
Despite Perez getting his first goal of the season, he still added very little overall, and I think this afternoon we may well see Shelvey playing a more advanced/free role, with Merino and Hayden behind and around him.
Gayle’s injury appears to guarantee Joselu retains his place, even though he struggled to get involved against Southampton. Mitrovic looks set to be in the squad for sure but very unlikely Rafa would consider him from the start.
A couple of other positions could see potential change – Manquillo has been the latest choice at left-back and has done ok, though Chancel Mbemba maybe unlucky to be left out, certainly when it comes to being dropped from the whole matchday 18 in the last couple of games.
I expect Manquillo to keep his place but I think we could see Ciaran Clark come back in.
Florian Lejeune had a good match last weekend apart from the daft penalty but with Clark enjoying his rest, I can see him back alongside Lascelles, especially as the Irish international is the more mobile than Lejenue and Lascelles, which could be a major asset in dealing with the threat of Zaha and Townsend, as Palace are missing target man Benteke.
The predicted Newcastle team v Crystal Palace:
To create the image above I used the NUFC team selector.
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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.
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Newcastle v Crystal Palace Match Betting:
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