A difficult time ahead of us all on Saturday teatime and this is the predicted Newcastle team v Chelsea below.

On Friday afternoon, Rafa informed us that Paul Dummett and Jonjo Shelvey aren’t available.

Earlier this week it was revealed that the pair had travelled to Barcelona to see a specialist, Dummett with an ongoing hamstring problem and Shelvey with his thigh.

Altogether, the NUFC boss will be missing at least six of his first team squad, as both Ki and Muto are at the Asian Cup, Darlow is out injured still, whilst Kenedy can’t play against the club that has loaned him out.

On top of this, Mohamed Diame is also reported to be doubtful.

So what does that leave us with?

The short answer, is a very unbalanced squad, which we all knew anyway.

Rafa Benitez has five good to very good centre-backs in his squad and yet players missing in pretty much every other outfield position.

I think he will play four of the five centre-backs with Florian Lejeune making do with a place on the bench.

I take for granted Rafa will have his now usual three centre-backs, with Lascelles, Fernandez and Schar there, whilst Yedlin and a make do Clark as wing-backs. Or in reality, two of five defenders.

Salomon Rondon was rested/protected against Man Utd and will return, with Ayoze Perez almost certainly as his main back-up.

Which leaves three spaces.

I see a very make do trio in midfield, with Hayden helped by Ritchie playing more inside, plus Atsu expected to try and get forward if he can and help to try and create something.

Not ideal but then when did anybody tell you that supporting Newcastle United would be?

This being my predicted Newcastle team v Chelsea:

newcastle team v chelsea

A team that will hopefully see Rafa’s side improve their points total after Saturday…

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  • Paul Patterson

    That’ll be us mullered ..

  • Ba ba.

    1.1

    • toonterrier

      11-1

  • Kenny

    Foregone conclusion with that team i`m afraid & another embarrassing display in front of the cameras.

  • DeadToiler

    I think we could pull 11 names out of a hat and put them in any random positions and it wouldn’t make a great difference

    • GToon

      It would be funny tho. For starters why not try Joselu up front.

      • DeadToiler

        Perez and Atsu as centre halves

        • Tweed Mag

          Perez as a No 10, that would be novel

          • Blackburn1066

            There coming to take us away ha! ha.

          • Will Venus

            Agreed. As would Perez standing up for 5 minutes without falling over

  • Kneebotherm8

    Who’ll be on the bench then?……..Lejeune,Manqillo,hoss,Murphy,woodman……..anyone else to consider?….Longstaff?……..we’ve got a threadbare squad down to the barebones………..thanks once again you FCB……and when Chelsea put us to the sword there’ll still be some on here blaming Rafas tactics……….fckn laughable they are…….

    • Wezza

      Spot on that! Who else can Rafa pick when down to the barebones?
      Its something FCB banks on – fans arguing amongst themselves.
      I used to get excited for games – not anymore!

      • Kneebotherm8

        Yeah,they need to focus their attentions on the FCB……..not Benitez’ tactics with this below par (that’s putting it mildly) squad…

  • GToon

    I can’t predict the team but I can predict the score. 3-0 to them.

    • Kneebotherm8

      Should be 3-0 at least looking at the respective squads…….

      • GToon

        My prediction is only up to half time. After that I go in the garage and do weights and pretend it never happened.

        • Kneebotherm8

          😂

      • GToon

        Alternatively we could fill that “pitch picture” above with all of our players and maybe we would get a draw. Cram them in like some kind of science drawing about gasses and solids. Sorry, I’m going mad. Bye

        • Kneebotherm8

          The FCB is driving us all mad…….

          • Blackburn1066

            I think we should set GToon on him.

          • Kneebotherm8

            Set him loose…😂

        • Blackburn1066

          I started on those pills then the electrodes, Bzzzzzzzzz

    • Squintytoonarmy

      At least – any team with Hayden as the middle man is doomed

      • Blackburn1066

        Spot on not a Garry speed or Rob Lee

  • Blackburn1066

    I can’t think we will run away with the game but I do see us getting a 0-0 1-1

  • Shields Mag

    Hazard to pick our defence apart unfortunately, hope I’m wrong of course….

  • JohnnyH

    Ritchies got his work cut out then……
    The possession stats will uncomfortable viewing.

  • pedrodelgardo

    Zoiks!!!