Rafa Benitez had just named his team for his home debut as the Newcastle manager against Sunderland in the local derby this afternoon and Andros Townsend, Chancel Mbemba and Jamaal Lascelles all start in what is a 4-4-2 formation.
Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ayoze Perez will be the two strikers up front.
Newcastle (4-4-2): Rob Elliot; Daryl Janmaat, Chancel Mbemba, Jamaal Lascelles, Jack Colback; Moussa Sissoko, Jonjo Shelvey (c), Georginio Wijnaldum, Andros Townsend; Ayoze Perez, Aleksandar Mitrovic
Substitutes: Karl Darlow, Steven Taylor, Vurnon Anita, Henri Saivet, Siem de Jong, Emmanuel Riviere, Papiss Cisse
Sunderland (4-1-4-1): Vito Mannone; DeAndre Yedlin, Younes Kaboul (c), Lamine Kone, Patrick van Aanholt; Jan Kirchhoff; Fabio Borini, Yann M’Vila, Jack Rodwell, Wahbi Khazri; Jermain Defoe
Substitutes: Jordan Pickford, Billy Jones, John O’Shea, Lee Cattermole, Ola Toivonen, Jeremain Lens, Dame N’Doye
Referee: Martin Atkinson (Yorkshire)
It’s great to see Chancel Mbemba back in the side and he should make a big difference at the back.
Papiss Cisse is also back from injury and on the bench along with Manu Riviere – so Rafa is looking for goals this afternoon.
With Steven Taylor on the bench it looks like Jamaal was preferred to Taylor in central defense and Vernon Anita is dropped and it could be that Gini Wijnaldum moves into central midfield with Jonjo Shelvey, who captains the side.
This looks a very strong side, with Jack Colback, who is on 9 yellow cards, continuing at left back.
This is what Rafa has said about the game this afternoon.
“We know how big the derby is for the city and for the fans,” “It’s massive for both teams and we have to make sure we enjoy it but also give everything to win.”
“The main thing for me is the players on the pitch and the fans in the stands, because that is what makes the difference.”
“The fans are crucial for us. At this stage we know the fans will be disappointed if someone makes a mistake but it is important that we stick together and every fan gets behind the players on the pitch.”
“They will be pushing for us to make a good start to the game and they will be important in determining how we approach the game.”
“At the same time, we need to stay strong in defense and show a bit more going forward. This game is about the players and the fans – if we have everything going well we can score goals and win this match.”
Three fans in four think we can win this very crucial game this afternoon.
Howay The Lads!!