Wednesday night sees the League Cup interfere with the Premier League campaign and much talk about what kind of Newcastle team v Nottingham Forest will be selected.
Many fans automatically assuming it will be a weak team chosen by Rafa Benitez but I don’t think it will be anywhere near as understrength as fans believe.
Through various factors, tonight’s team may be slightly easier to predict that is the norm with cup selections, the small size of Newcastle’s squad, injuries/knocks, plus what Rafa Benitez has had to say in advance of the game.
The manager is without Florian Lejeune, Jamaal Lascelles, Jonjo Shelvey, Matt Ritchie, Javier Manquillo and Isaac Hayden, thanks to suspension and injuries/knocks.
Plus Rafa gave us additional clues
Rafa Benitez asked why he won’t play a first choice team v Forest:
“First of all, because we have some injuries.
“Second of all, because we don’t want to play too many players in three days.
“For example Matt Ritchie has a knock on his knee, so he cannot play.
“But some of the players, they were coming back from the World Cup and weren’t fit.
“They have to play, if not they will not be fit ever, because the match fitness is something you only get playing games. These players have to play in these games in order to get that match fitness.”
Taking all of that together, starting from the back I think Karl Darlow will obviously start and Dubravka rested.
In front of him, I think a very strong chance Rafa will go with three centre-backs, he did so against Chelsea and very likely will against Man City, so every chance in my opinion – especially with new players needing the chance to integrate.
In the past Rafa has said it is different for defenders playing a number of games in quick succession compared to strikers/midfielders who cover more ground. So I think every chance of Clark, Schar and Fernandez all starting again.
As for the wing-backs, both Yedlin and Dummett can have a night off.
Jamie Sterry could get a rare start on the right, whilst Rafa Benitez has indicated Kenedy is likely to start after missing Sunday and not having much football pre-season.
Sean Longstaff should get a start in midfield and I fancy Ki to stay in alongside him, Diame saved for what will be a busy day for him at Man City.
Yoshinori Muto will start up front and I think Rafa will go for a more fluid and less physical selection at the front end.
Both Perez and Atsu could start in support of Muto, completing a team that whilst it is sort of players such as Lascelles, Shelvey and Ritchie, does have enough to beat Forest in my opinion, plus potentially play some decent football in doing so.
A difficult team selection for Rafa Benitez but this is how I think they will line up:
Nottingham Forest v Newcastle United Match Betting:
All Forest v Newcastle betting HERE