The Newcastle team v Burnley was looking an interesting one.
A side missing a number of first team regulars producing the best football and result of the season to beat Bournemouth.
However, a number of injured players surely set to be available once again with the help of the international break giving extra time to get fully fit.
Rafa Benitez often leaves you guessing on team selections and this was looking to be one where you couldn’t second guess the manager.
However, a few clues appeared to be given earlier today by the club.
Publishing a gallery of the squad training ahead of Monday, they made a big thing of Florian Lejeune finally making the step onto the training pitch in his recovery from long-term injury.
A big positive of course but not relevant to the Newcastle team v Burnley, or indeed any others in the sort-term, still looking at somewhere around new year when the big Frenchman will be back fully fit.
Paul Dummett was missing as expected after injury when away with Wales, he can surely be ruled out of Monday.
Yoshinori Muto was shown at training, whilst Jonjo Shelvey and Jamaal Lascelles were the big surprises when it came to who was missing.
For the pair to be missing at this stage, I can’t seen them in consideration for the starting eleven on Monday. Even if they do make some part of training in the next few days, Rafa Benitez isn’t one for rushing people back and risking potential recurrence of an injury.
Taking all things together, especially with the team getting that second win in a row when beating Bournemouth 2-1, my conclusions are.
If Lascelles had been back to full fitness then I think every chance Rafa would have found a place for him AND changed his formation to accommodate the captain, by playing with a three/five at the back. The likely absence of Paul Dummett adding to the possibility of then Rafa once again experimenting with wing-backs.
Schar and especially Fernandez have done well, so I think they would have played regardless and with probably no Lascelles, I see the manager staying with a back four.
In Dummett’s absence I think Manquillo will come in on the left, as Rafa won’t want to move Kenedy back in the team just when he is getting his form back going forward. is cross for Rondon’s winner being the cherry on the cake.
If Shelvey is still out then Ki and Diame will automatically start. Even if Shelvey was/is fit then still every chance it would be bench anyway for him, not starting eleven.
Good to see Yoshinori Muto in the training shots today but can’t see him being rushed back into the team even if fully fit, Perez wasn’t great against Bournemouth but the team seemed to function pretty well. So Muto set for a place on the bench if available at Turf Moor.
So I think this is how the Newcastle team v Burnley will look:
Burnley have conceded more (25) goals than all but the 31 Fulham have leaked, so every chance of this Newcastle team getting a goal, or possibly two.
Whilst in defence, the last six hours (including added time) of football has seen Newcastle concede only one goal, so every chance Rafa’s players could make it a third clean sheet in four games.
Another win would be massive in the context of creating breathing space for Newcastle United and giving them momentum for what will be a period of 10 matches in 41 days, starting with Burnley.