Predicted Newcastle team v Crystal Palace
The Newcastle team v Crystal Palace will be an interesting selection for Rafa Benitez.
The NUFC manager set to have all of his squad available, with the exception of long-term injured Sean Longstaff.
Newcastle looking to make it six Premier League home wins in a row and and all but ensure safety.
On Friday lunchtime, Rafa Benitez confirmed that Sean Longstaff was the only player definitely ruled out.
The manager stating that Fabian Schar was though definitely ok to play again, whilst he said he had to check on Yedlin, Hayden and Diame who all have ‘little problems’ ahead of today’s match.
Rafa Benitez pre-Crystal Palace press conference:
“Schar is fine – he is available.
“Apart from Longstaff, who is not available, we have two or three issues.
“Hayden, Diame and Yedlin have some little problems and we have to check on them before the game.”
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 Arsenal, Rafa went with:
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, 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?
Fabian Schar must surely come straight back in now he is fit, so a case of which three or four others play alongside him.
Lejeune has been consistent and arguably Newcastle’s best defender at Arsenal, so if he is playing three central defenders, a case of Lascelles or Fernandez in the middle of the trio?
Lascelles was poor at Arsenal but I expect him to stay in the side, plus Fernandez didn’t hit the heights of earlier in the season when recently coming into the team.
Yedlin will play at right-back/wing-back and if it is a three/five at the back, I think it will be Paul Dummett who has to drop out, as he doesn’t suit playing as a wing-back.
You assume Rafa Benitez will keep with Perez alongside Rondon and Almiron, as the trio have impressed in home matches.
Which leaves a decision in the middle of the pitch.
Assuming Isaac Hayden is fine to start, I think/hope Jonjo Shelvey will finally get a first start in over five months.
Palace may have scored more away goals (25) than anybody outside the top six but only two of the top 14 in the table have conceded more goals than the 24 the Eagles have leaked on their travels.
So Newcastle should be looking to get on the front foot with Shelvey pulling the strings.
My predicted Newcastle team v Crystal Palace:
Can Rafa’s team make it six home Premier League wins in a row?
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