This is the predicted Newcastle team v Bournemouth for Sunday afternoon’s match.
A 3pm kick-off, with Rafa Benitez hoping to build on the confidence boosting victory against Man Utd that lifted Newcastle out of the bottom three.
It is pretty clear that most Newcastle fans expected Islam Slimani to start today but events have transpired against that.
A real blow for Rafa Benitez as Slimani is now ruled out for at least a couple of more weeks after his thigh injury returned, leaving him likely to be available for six or seven of the remaining matches at the very most.
The injury does leave Rafa with the option of going with exactly the same team that beat Man Utd.
However, I don’t think he will.
The NUFC boss has regularly changed a winning team in his time at Newcastle and always picks his side, and tactics, with each particular opposition in mind.
I have gone for one change but I wouldn’t be surprised if Rafa made even more.
Having gone for two defensive changes against Man Utd, I think he will retain the same defence.
A knock for Clark gave Lejeune a chance which he took, even helping to set up the winner as well as doing well in defence.
Whilst Dubravka was superb after Darlow was dropped.
Diame and Shelvey were outstanding in that last match and look set to be first choice for me in the run-in.
Whilst on the wings, Ritchie was back to adding more of a threat on top of his workrate and Kenedy put in another good show. I have gone for both wingers to keep their place but do have a small sneaking position Atsu might get a start, with maybe Kenedy used as an impact sub.
Up front, is as usual the most difficult. Both Gayle and Perez worked hard against Mourinho’s team but with not a great goal threat.
Bournemouth have quite a physical defence so I can see Joselu getting a game, with Perez dropping out and Gayle just about clinging onto his place, as he’s (relatively!) far more likely to grab a goal than the former Tenerife player.
The predicted Newcastle team v Bournemouth:
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