This is the predicted Newcastle team v Arsenal and formation.

Rafa Benitez held his press conference on Friday lunchtime and gave us an update on who is available.

Whilst Jonjo Shelvey starts his two match suspension, Rafa confirmed that Paul Dummett returns to the squad after missing four months of football.

However, Jesus Gamez isn’t fit enough for the squad with an unspecified injury/illness, plus Aleksandar Mitrovic has a ‘small’ back problem and fans won’t see him (as usual..).

Plenty of decisions for Rafa Benitez and most of them not positive.

The manager arguably having little choice but to leave some players out because of how badly they have played, rather than somebody really impressing in training and demanding they should be included.

Rob Elliot was dropped after increasingly poor form and Karl Darlow initially did ok BUT after that soft first goal against Leicester, followed by a gift for Rooney, the manager surely has no choice but to bring Rob Elliot. Never say never with young hopeful Freddie Woodman but it would be a massive ask for him to make his first team debut at The Emirates.

Manquillo was poor yet again on Wednesday and you would expect to see Paul Dummett return if fit enough.

Whilst in the middle, Rafa has been putting out positive messages on Lejeune despite his poor form, but my money is on Ciaran Clark coming back in to reunite with Lascelles who did well against Everton. DeAndre Yedlin was on the few to show real desire against Everton going forward and his pace looks essential considering the lack of it in most of the rest of the team.

The centre of midfield looks an easy pick after Shelvey’s red card, Isaac Hayden set to come back in for this return to his old club, sitting alongside Mikel Merino.

Christian Atsu has done ok these past two home matches and should keep his place but Jacob Murphy will feel a little unlucky after improving little by little before he was dropped. Matt Ritchie has started every game and major surprise if dropped but like many of is teammates he couldn’t argue if he was.

Dwight Gayle’s touch wasn’t great on Wednesday when the ball infrequently got to him but it was a thankless task as United toiled going forward. Having given NUFC the lead in his last two away starts at Man Utd and Chelsea, he must play.

The ever problematic number 10 role is as bad as the goalkeeping dilemma but surely we can’t be greeted by the sight of Mohamed Diame sauntering around the pitch.

I don’t really rate him much but I think this is the type of game where Rafa will see Ayoze Perez able to do a job tracking back, though once again the bigΒ  problem will be getting the ball and support to Dwight Gayle.

The predicted Newcastle team v Arsenal:

newcastle team v arsenal

Arsenal v Newcastle Match Betting:

Arsenal win 1/4 Draw 11/2 Newcastle win 12/1

Newcastle win 1-0 35/1Gayle to score 1st goal 10/1At least 7 goals in match 10/1

All Arsenal v NewcastleΒ  betting HERE

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  • TheNutJob

    the problematic number 10 role doesn`t arise if you don`t play one,
    go 4-5-1

    • Leicester Mag

      We could try 4-4-4 and might have a chance in next 2 games

      • HTL

        we could try and get the sniper that shot Taylor when he hand-balled to try and take out the opposition?
        HTL

        • Leicester Mag

          As long we don’t give Hos the rifle

          • TheNutJob

            πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  • mentalman

    i’m going to get harangued for this but i’d stick saivet in, he can’t do any worse than Diame and we need a defensive midfielder.

    its come to a point where we need to try anything

    • Leicester Mag

      I’ve got the remnants of a kids snowman in my garden it would have more impact than Diame

      • wheyayeman

        If he’s still any bigger than a snowball by kick off he’ll either be a far superior strike partner for Gayle in place of Joselu or pop him on the half way line and he’s a ready made sub for Diame

    • Andy Mac

      How much shltterer can he be ? Plus I’m not sure I trust Rafa’s opinions on any of his players right now ?

  • Peaky Magpie

    New idea and maybe the way forward but could we not stick the starting eleven and all the subs on the pitch at the same time.

    • Leicester Mag

      That was behind my suggested 4-4-4 formation

      • Peaky Magpie

        πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚Just seen it ! We would still get beat.

    • ghostrider

      I think to even it up all Arsenal players have to wear blindfolds, even the keeper.
      If this happens I’m confident we can scrape a draw.

      • Peaky Magpie

        Ah divvent kna like πŸ˜‚

        • ghostrider

          Well ok, maybe I’m being a bit too optimistic.

          • Peaky Magpie

            πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

          • Peaky Magpie

            Arsenal are one thing but it goes up to the stratosphere when Man City arrive in town,what the hell are we going to do that day ???

          • ghostrider

            That’s easy. Guardiola will rest his entire team and the stiffs will all be full of flu which leaves a first ever sanction from the FA to allow the female Man City stiffs….I said stiffs, not their female first team lol.

            If this happens and it’s as possible as Sunderland being non-league giant killers in the 2021 FA cup…then I can seriously see us sneaking a crafty win by a penalty due to having an obvious homer of a ref, for some very strange reason.

          • Peaky Magpie

            πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Exactly just what I was thinking πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ The Boxing Day Massacre looms ever closer.Ive heard Frannie Lee & Colin Bell have offered their services if Aguero and Jesus need Christmas off,there’s a joke in there somewhere but I’m struggling !πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

          • ghostrider

            I’m laughing so I can obviously see the joke. Hahahaha.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      you play the stiffs not the 1st 11 & when they tank Arsenal you drop them all against the Hammers
      in Rafa we Trust
      πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

      • HTL

        good point, but are any of the stiffs good enough?

  • gallowgate26

    I think the game plan for this one will be to try and protect the goal difference with an eye on Man City in the not too distant future. Oh remember the days before we were a championship club, when we used to go into a game against the top 6, or ‘top 4’ as it was then, hoping to nick something?.. Just a distant memory now.

    • Peaky Magpie

      Very good point,because the bottom 10 or so are so tight and likely to be until end of season GD is going to be more important than ever I feel.

    • Mike Adam

      Yeah lets play the rest of the season worrying about goal difference and not trying to win points, that will certainly keep us up!

  • Andy Mac

    If Dummet is fit and Rafa plays Manquillo then I’ll eat my freaking season ticket !!!! Only kidding havent had a season ticket since the Fatman fkd off KK.

    • Peaky Magpie

      Aye.Mannequin,Hoss & Brylcreem Boy.The much feared Spanish Armada !

      • Andy Mac

        Brylcreem Boy, How do I know who you’re referring to ?

        • Peaky Magpie

          Perez,spends more time doing his hair than Shelvey !

  • wheyayeman

    If only the DARLING of the mag….PAUL MERSON could enlighten us as to how Rafa should set up the team. Then we could all pour out some much needed pennies and pounds betting at tax evading scum bags bet v**tor on the set up against MERSONS prediction!

  • Alreet

    Rafa needs to revert to a more conservative and controlled backline. Elliot to be recalled and if dummy isnt there we can all but hope for mbemba to be dropped in at LB. Clark to come back in place of lejuene. Hayden for shelvey and i would like him to give murphy the no. 10 role.

    If we are choosing between Mo and ayo id prefer to have a 5th defender and go for a draw.

    Rafa is so right though. We have to grab a striker and a no.10 at least in jan otherwise it could be a very long winter.