Predicted Newcastle team v Arsenal after Rafa press conference
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 big problem will be getting the ball and support to Dwight Gayle.
The predicted Newcastle team v Arsenal:
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