This is the predicted Newcastle team v Crystal Palace for Sunday afternoon’s match.
A 2.15pm kick-off at Selhurst Park with Rafa’s players desperate to get over the disappointment of Burnley’s late equaliser.
A win would be massive and take Newcastle up to 12th, a win by two goals or more would remarkably see NUFC in 11th.
After Saturday’s matches everything is so so tight with only three points separating 11th and 19th.
Even a point could prove crucial at the end of the season although it would mean Newcastle staying 16th in the table.
Kenedy was very good on Wednesday night and will surely start but the best for Dubravka and Slimani will be a place on the bench at best.
I have read/heard some fans thinking the new keeper could/should start but I find that bizarre. Darlow has done pretty well and was unlucky with Burnley’s goal, whilst moving from the Czech league and four days later starting in the Premier League would be mad.
I think Rafa Benitez will be looking at a typical away set-up for a game where he thinks points are realistic, a solid defence and a bit of pace to try and hit on the break.
The back four did ok against Burnley and are set to start again, Yedlin still isn’t the best defender but gives the team some energy and as an alternative Manquillo doesn’t exactly inspire.
Merino and Diame are looking as though they could be Rafa’s first choice centre midfield pairing, the Spaniard went quietly about his job on Wednesday and gave composure, whilst Diamme was like a man possessed – by some distance his best game for Newcastle (so far…).
Up front, having arrived with an injury, even if he is available, Islam Slimani will only make the bench at best.
Joselu had a bit of a nightmare with that poor penalty and missed sitter, plus with an emphasis on counter-attacking, I think Gayle will get another chance.
To back up the lone striker, Kenedy will be one of those tasked with turning defence into attack. I think Murphy as well will start, very unlikely not to be in the team against Burnley he did well when coming on and laid on that easy chance for Joselu.
As for in the central role, nobody really convinces, but I think Matt Ritchie might be given another go to show he can deliver behind the man striker.
The predicted Newcastle team v Crystal Palace:
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