Some more clues on Thursday for the likely Newcastle team v Bournemouth.
Earlier in the week, Rafa Benitez had given us some clues as to who was likely to be available for the match tomorrow.
Jamaal Lascelles, Yoshinori Muto and Jonjo Shelvey all having been forced off the pitch due to injury against Watford.
The feedback from Rafa was roughly that Jamaal Lascelles should be fine unless he had a setback, whilst it was far less likely for the other two, Muto having a slim chance of being available but almost no chance for Shelvey.
On Thursday, the club published a photo gallery of the players training earlier that day, it showed 19 year old striker Elias Sorensen promoted to train with the first team, alongside other younger players in Freddie Woodman and Sean Longstaff, who are already with the first team group.
Jamaal Lascelles was also there – but no sign of Jonjo Shelvey and Yoshinori Muto.
This is the full list of players shown in the training shots, presumably Karl Darlow and Rob Elliot are also available if needed but were not shown:
Martin Dubravka, Freddie Woodman, Matt Ritchie, Jacob Murphy, Paul Dummett, Joselu, Mohamed Diame, Federico Fernandez, Kenedy, Sean Longstaff, Ciaran Clark, Fabian Schar, Ki Sung-yeung, Isaac Hayden, Jamaal Lascelles, Christian Atsu, Javier Manquillo, Ayoze Perez, Elias Sorensen, Salomon Rondon, DeAndre Yedlin
As usual, most of the team picks itself and in Muto’s absence, Perez will get an instant recall after being dropped last week.
Likewise Ki looks certain to start in Shelvey’s absence, doing very well when he came on against Watford and with Longstaff yet to play in the Premier League and Hayden so poor this season, the South Korean will be an automatic choice.
I have seen comments this week where a case is being made for Fabian Schar to play ahead of Jamaal Lascelles.
The Swiss international has had little chance this season but came in and was excellent against Watford as Newcastle saw out the win. As well as defending well, Schar also looked good on the ball when bringing/playing it out of defence, something which isn’t a strength for either Lascelles or Fernandez.
However, I just can’t see Rafa Benitez leaving his captain out, Lascelles hasn’t yet hit the heights of last season but has done ok and will surely play and captain the team.
I expect the team to line up as usual below, with little other competition for places.
The only other possibility of course is if Rafa went for a formation change to accommodate Fernandez, Lascelles and Schar, in a three/five at the back formation as he has already done a couple of times this season.
Unlikely maybe but only four clubs have scored more goals than Bournemouth this season so I wouldn’t put it past the United boss to do the unexpected in terms of how he sets the team out.
Predicted Newcastle team v Bournemouth:
It would have been an interesting team selection/dilemma for the manager if the likes of Muto and Shelvey had been available but despite his decent showing, I just can’t see Schar getting a chance ahead of Jamaal Lascelles.