Predicted Newcastle team v Leicester
The Newcastle team v Leicester 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 and Florian Lejeune.
Newcastle looking for their first away win since mid-December, only two away victories in total all season.
On Thursday lunchtime, Rafa Benitez confirmed that only the two players were ruled out, as Mohamed Diame was ok after a hip problem.
Rafa Benitez pre-Leicester press conference:
“We have to do our job on Friday and win the game if we can. It’s one game at a time.
“(Leicester) are a very good team.
“They are playing with more confidence now and it will be tough for us, for sure.
“We must approach every game with confidence, calm, and the belief that we can do it.
“Now we have five games and we have to think of every one like a final, as we have said many times.
“We have Lejeune injured, Longstaff too, and the rest of the players are available.”
“Diame had a problem with his hip but is fine now. He was training and it’s OK.
This was Rafa’s team that started against Palace six days ago:
Dubravka, Yedlin, Schar, Lejeune, Lascelles, Ritchie, Hayden, Ki, Perez, Almiron, Rondon
I predict two personnel swaps and a change in formation.
I think the absence of Florian Lejeune will help persuade Rafa Benitez to go with a back four.
For my money, Paul Dummett will come in as an orthodox left-back with Schar partnering Lascelles in the middle. I don’t think the manager sees Fernandez playing in the same team as Lascelles, whilst Ciaran Clark wasn’t even on the bench last Saturday.
Whilst you can never rule out Rafa Benitez producing the odd surprise, such as say Atsu getting a game. I think the front three or four pick themselves.
However, Ki showed no penetration last weekend and with Diame just back from a hip problem, maybe this will be the chance for Jonjo Shelvey. The 2-1 win here last season was one of his best displays and whilst he was poor last week when coming off the bench, it was a case of Shelvey trying too hard to force the pass with so little time to influence the game.
My predicted Newcastle team v Leicester:
Can Rafa’s team repeat the 2-1 win here last season and more or less ensure Premier League safety?
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