Predicted Newcastle team v Blackburn in FA Cup replay
This is the predicted Newcastle team v Blackburn as Rafa Benitez is faced with a match that he most definitely didn’t want.
Obviously he can’t come out and say it but clearly the Newcastle boss would have preferred to go out the FA Cup as quickly as possible.
Mike Ashley leaving him no other option but to not have a go at the cup competitions whatsoever.
With no defeat in that first game, by far the worst option was the need for a replay.
If Newcastle had won nine days ago then they would have been into a fourth round match in two weeks time and he could have put it to the back of his mind. However, he now faces a replay only four days before arguably the biggest game of the season so far, desperately needing to beat relegation rivals Cardiff on Saturday.
So taking in that fact, as well as Muto and Ki away on international duties, as well as a number of relegation worries, what Newcastle team v Blackburn can he put out?
I think the third round game at St James Park and the subs bench at Stamford Bridge are the starting points.
I see all seven subs from that Chelsea game starting, as well as it being nine of the starting eleven that took on Blackburn in the first game.
The seven subs at Chelsea were Javier Manquillo, Jacob Murphy, Freddie Woodman, Jamie Sterry, Fabian Schar, Federico Fernandez and Joselu.
I expect them all to start on Tuesday night, Fernandez was the only one of these who didn’t also start the Blackburn game at home.
The other five who started that (Blackburn) game were Hayden, Longstaff, Lejeune, Ritchie and Kenedy.
I think Matt Ritchie will be given a rest and Florian Lejeune looked after, making sure he is ok for Cardiff.
Kenedy couldn’t play against the team he was loaned from on Saturday and he looks sure to be given a game.
As for Hayden and Longstaff, I think they will both play again. If Rafa had other fringe players he would play them there but there are no obvious choices, especially with the likes of Barlaser out on loan.
The Shelvey and Diame situations are unknown but if there is any chance of them being available in these next five days, they will be aimed at Cardiff and not Blackburn, the same with Paul Dummett.
Completing the line-up, I fancy Ciaran Clark to be used in a three centre-back system.
Rafa Benitez as shown no inclination to use Achraf Lazaar and presumably Rolando Aarons would be able to play as well now if the manager wanted to. Rafa has stated that both these players need to find new clubs this month but maybe if they could play centre midfield they would have got a call tomorrow night. Newcastle have got plenty of options on the wings and who can at least fill in at full-back, so no essential need to use them.
Whatever choice he does make, you can only sympathise with Rafa Benitez due to the situation he finds himself in, when deciding who e does he play at Blackburn.
This being my predicted Newcastle team v Blackburn:
A team that will hopefully see us surge, at the second attempt, into the fourth round…
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]