This is the predicted Newcastle team v Manchester City and formation.
The manager confirming ahead of the game that Lejeune, Mitrovic and Gamez are all progressing well but Mitrovic the only one of the trio having any chance of being available.
Having not started a league game all season and with only 89 minutes in total as a sub, I think we can still safely rule Mitro out of this one.
Although Newcastle United’s number 45 did give us the lead the last time we visited the Etihad…
Whilst Newcastle did create some chances in the first half, it wasn’t just the finishing that was disappointing against rock bottom Swansea.
I think changes will be made and as Rafa has shown before, the opposition often dictates a different approach/selection for him, not just the form (or otherwise) of players.
Starting in defence, I think we could see just the one change. Some people criticised Karl Darlow for the Swansea goal, saying he should have maybe done better when making the first save, but it was a free header and I thought he didn’t do a lot wrong.
He did have one scare in the closing stages when gifting the ball to Bony but Yedlin cleared the danger.
With only one goal conceded in three games I think Darlow must surely keep his place and Clark, Lascelles and Yedlin are easy choices as well.
Dummett did ok against Swansea but with Manchester City’s quick wingers I think Rafa could rotate with the more mobile Manquillo, who has given a real value for money committed return on the manager’s faith.
I think that just like the home match, Rafa Benitez will go with Joselu as a lone striker. To relieve pressure and to give Newcastle some attacking threat, then the manager will need the option of hitting it long.
The United boss will be desperate to keep it tight in the middle and could well play Mohamed Diame as the second striker/fifth midfielder, hos workrate along with Hayden’s would then allow the more creative Mikel Merino to also play, hopefully allowing Newcastle to retain the ball better than they did in the game against Man City at St James Park.
Pace on the wings will be an essential and I think Atsu and Murphy will play, expected to get up and down the pitch and also come inside at times to support Joselu, with Diame and others able to then cover them.
At Arsenal, Rafa left both Gayle and Ritchie out and then as late subs they did really well and caused the Gunners problems, I can see a similar scenario today, with Gayle having had chances when also brought on late at St James Park against Guardiola’s team.
This team below would represent five changes from the Swansea game, with Joselu, Hayden, Atsu, Yedlin and Darlow coming in for Dummett, Ritchie, Gayle, Shelvey and Perez.
The predicted Newcastle team v Manchester City:
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