This is my Newcastle team v Manchester United to take the pitch next Saturday.
A daunting task, as only Manchester City stand above their city rivals.
Newcastle have only one win in their last six games now and have lost their last two, without scoring a goal.
The Magpies are badly need of a lift and I think with one or two inspirational changes they can get a result at Old Trafford.
It looks as though injury is going to deprive Rafa Benitez of the likes of Jamaal Lascelles, Mikel Merino, and Christian Atsu.
However, this can also help produce opportunity for others.
Defensively, Newcastle have continued to look decent overall, although one position does stand out. Javier Manquillo has really struggled and surely Chancel Mbemba deserves a chance to come back in.
Two of Newcastle’s four wins came in the quartet of Premier League games he started and the DR Congo defender can help deal with the Red Devils attacking options.
Shelvey and Hayden seem to pick themselves in Merino’s enforced absence but ahead of them I would love to see some positive changes.
Matt Ritchie obviously stays in and I though Dwight Gayle did relatively well on his return against Bournemouth, with these extra two weeks he should be now 100% fit.
Against the Cherries he played behind Joselu but for me it has to be time for Mitrovic to get a chance, scoring his ninth goal in the last 11 internationals against China on Friday, he can cause problems against Man Utd as he did in August 2015 not long after signing, almost winning the game but the woodwork denying him.
Jacob Murphy surely can’t start after looking way out of his depth so far, so with Atsu set to be missing with his injury sustained/worsened in Ghana, a chance to bring in the pace and energy of Rolando Aarons.
Mitrovic isn’t the best for movement but the trio of Ritchie, Gayle, and Aarons, can help compensate.
I think this team gives the necessary energy levels and the chance of a goal going forward, whilst still retaining Rafa’s reliance on a solid looking defensive shape.
My Newcastle team v Manchester United:
To create the image above I 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 22k 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 Manchester United.
Before every match, simply go to the menu at the top of this screen and click features, then on the drop down list click NUFC Team Selector and choose your team for every match.