This is the predicted Newcastle team v Crystal Palace for Saturday afternoon’s match.
A 3pm kick-off at Selhurst Park with Rafa’s players desperate to get three points and hopefully climb out of their early place in the relegation zone.
Newcastle did ok up to a point against Arsenal but without ever really looking like scoring.
Injuries and fitness worries, as well as those late back from international duty, complicated team selection last Saturday.
This time, Newcastle look sure to have a side that more resembles what fans believe to be Rafa’s first choice eleven.
At the back, Dubravka and the full-backs are unopposed and have done relatively ok so far this season.
As for in the middle of the defence, Federico Fernandez has arguably been Newcastle’s best defender so far this season and barring injury is sure to start. However, the indications in the local media see to be pointing to Lascelles missing out after being forced off with an ankle problem at half-time against Arsenal – Ciaran Clark set to replace him this weekend.
Whilst Lascelles is likely to miss out, those local media reports are also saying that Jonjo Shelvey should be ready to return.
Rafa Benitez left him on the bench against Arsenal as he wasn’t fully fit but a return to play alongside Mohamed Diame will be a massive boost.
Ritchie was the only one of the six most forward players to do himself any justice against the Gunners, he is set to be joined by Kenedy in Saturday’s team.
A poor start to the season after not the best of summer preparations (67 minutes in pre-season friendlies) due to a baby arriving and the player allowed to travel back to Brazil. Rafa said the winger was on the bench last Saturday due to not being fully fit, also probably a case of taking him out of the firing line to try and get him fully wound up. Murphy runs a lot but offers no threat or end product, Newcastle need Kenedy back in the team to give that threat, here’s hoping he will bounce back in this game.
Rondon will surely play after Rafa thinking long-term and not risking any chance of injury after the late return from international duty last week.
Joselu and Perez together offer very little, lacking the pace and ability to unsettle the opposition. Perez might still hang onto his place despite a dismal start to the season but surely only a matter of time before Muto is given an opportunity, he may not have shown a lot in his sub appearances but persevering with Perez is not an option longer-term.
Newcastle, understandably to a large extent, have taken a more defensive stance so far, playing the likes of Chelsea and Man City. However, Palace is a game where Rafa Benitez will surely seek to get the opposition on the back foot a lot more.
The predicted Newcastle team v Crystal Palace:
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