Predicted Newcastle team v Arsenal
The Newcastle team v Arsenal will be an interesting selection for Rafa Benitez.
The NUFC manager looking to get to Premier League safety as soon as possible and building on a run of only one defeat in six games.
It looks a tough match with Arsenal not having lost at home since the opening day of the season and the Gunners on a run of nine straight wins at the Emirates.
On Friday, Rafa Benitez revealed that only Sean Longstaff was unavailable through injury, whilst Fabian Schar misses through suspension.
With almost a complete squad to choose from, the manager has some big dilemmas on both the selection and formation front.
Last time out at Bournemouth, Rafa went with:
Dubravka, Yedlin, Fernandez, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie, Hayden, Diame, Almiron, Perez, Rondon
Maybe the most interesting is what Rafa will do about the defence in front of Martin Dubravka.
A back four or three centre-backs?
Jamaal Lascelles straight back in now he is fit?
Paul Dummett out, after just getting back into the team?
I think Rafa Benitez will go back to the three centre-backs and two wing-backs that has become the norm, especially with Arsenal scoring (37 goals) for fun at home. In comparison, Newcastle have only scored 31 goals in total.
I can see Paul Dummett staying in the team but as the centre-back on the left, with Florian Lejeune switching to the right. Then Jamaal Lascelles playing in the middle with Fernandez dropping out, the manager not keen this season to play the two in the same side.
Then it would be Yedlin and Ritchie as wing-backs for me.
Another big decision in the middle of the pitch.
Hayden will start against his old club but who alongside him? Ki was poor against Everton and then Diame was worse at Bournemouth, whilst Shelvey played well both games off the bench. I can see Shelvey getting a run in the team these final six weeks, starting on Monday.
Rafa said that Miguel Almiron had a minor knock when returning from his international matches but added that it shouldn’t be a problem.
If that is the case then it will be the Paraguayan striker linking up with Rondon and Perez once again.
My predicted Newcastle team v Arsenal:
Considering Arsenal’s home record (Won 13, drawn 2, lost 1), a point or better would be a great effort by Rafa’s team.
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