This Newcastle team v Watford can play to our strengths
This is my Newcastle team v Watford to take the pitch on Saturday.
Rafa Benitez has already ruled Jamaal Lascelles and Christian Atsu out, plus Paul Dummett is almost certain not to be ready either have his long-term injury, certainly not to start anyway.
Once again the United boss facing the challenge of trying to make Newcastle more of a threat up front, whilst at the same time keeping it tight at the back.
Against both Bournemouth and Man Utd the team played very well for the first half hour or so but couldn’t sustain it over 90 minutes.
This Saturday sees dangerous opposition, with Watford scoring twice in all six of their Premier League away matches so far.
I think we need to play to our strengths and with no obvious left-back option, at least until Paul Dummett returns, I would love to see Chancel Mbemba brought in as one of three centre-backs.
This would allow Matt Ritchie and DeAndre Yedlin to play as wing-backs, both of them able to get up and down the pitch. This could also help stifle the visitors’ dangerous attack, then the three central defenders offering a solid base. All three of them are quite comfortable on the ball so they can bring the ball forward to an extent, instead of always needing to hand it to Jonjo Shelvey dropping too far back.
Hayden is suspended so it gives Rafa an extra problem. Mikel Merino will automatically come back in if he has proved his fitness after a back problem, the Spaniard having been back in training this week.
Mohamed Diame has done little to suggest he should be included but with few other options, I would put him into the middle as he can do a job as a defensive midfielder, when not expected to contribute much going forward.
This would allow Jonjo Shelvey to play further forward and hopefully help him to use the wing-backs in an attacking sense.
Dwight Gayle is looking like a Premier League striker now he has his fitness back and he must start, I have put Joselu alongside him but I do think it is a toss of the coin on whether Mitrovic deserves to come in instead.
My Newcastle team v Watford:
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