This is the predicted Newcastle team v Manchester United for Saturday afternoon’s match.
On Friday lunchtime, Rafa Benitez confirmed that a number of players would be missing.
Christian Atsu and Jamaal Lascelles joining Paul Dummett and Mikel Merino on the injured list.
Newcastle haven’t got great strength in depth but still a decent number of debates on who should play at Old Trafford.
For me, the defence pretty much picks itself, apart from possibly left-back.
Yedlin is an automatic selection and the same in the middle with Lejeune and Clark in Lascelles’ absence.
Manquillo has increasingly struggled but Rafa Benitez hasn’t shown any appetite for turning to Jesus Gamez or Chancel Mbemba, so Manquillo looks set to continue.
Ritchie will be on the right as per usual, whilst with Mikel Merino missing until at least Watford next Saturday, Shelvey and Hayden will also play.
The other three positions are maybe the most interesting.
Jacob Murphy looked like a rabbit in the headlights against Bournemouth at home, never mind starting him at Old Trafford.
Rolando Aarons has been totally ignored so difficult to see him catapulted into the team from nowhere.
Whilst Rafa has used him mostly in the middle, I see the United boss moving Ayoze Perez out wide left to a position where he has played plenty in the past.
I have little doubt that the majority would like to see two potential goalscorers, one of them being Mitrovic, played in the furthest two front positions, but it isn’t going to happen.
Rafa did it in the last game with Joselu and Gayle and was unlucky not to see Newcastle a couple up in the first half, no chance of a repeat of those tactics today though.
He was terrible when getting a game at Burnley but I’m expecting to see Mohamed Diame starting today, with Rafa’s emphasis on keeping it tight and working hard defensively as a team, rather than committing much further up the pitch.
A lone striker role then and I think Dwight Gayle looks sure to fill it.
He scored a goal that was wrongly marked down as offside and looked sharp/quick despite not taking a couple of half chances, so Rafa will be hoping his pace will maybe just get the former Palace striker in a position where he could nick a goal.
The predicted Newcastle team v Manchester United:
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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