Rafa Benitez has just announced his team for the tough game against Manchester City at St. James’ Park tonight and Rafa has dropped Gini Wijnaldum after another poor game on Saturday against Swansea..
Newcastle (4-2-3-1): Karl Darlow; Vurnon Anita, Chancel Mbemba, Jamaal Lascelles, Paul Dummett; Cheick Tiote, Jack Colback; Andros Townsend, Ayoze Perez, Moussa Sissoko (c); Papiss Cisse
Substitutes: Freddie Woodman, Henri Saivet, Jonjo Shelvey, Siem de Jong, Georginio Wijnaldum, Rolando Aarons, Aleksandar Mitrovic
Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Joe Hart; Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany (c), Eliaquim Mangala, Aleksandar Kolarov; Fernando, Fabian Delph; Jesus Navas, Yaya Toure, Kevin De Bruyne; Sergio Aguero
Substitutes: Willy Caballero, Martin Demichelis, Nicolas Otamendi, Fernandinho, Raheem Sterling, Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfried Bony
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)
So Rafa doesn’t mess around – if you don’t produce the goods whoever you are – he will drop you as Wijnaldum has found out.
Perez comes into the starting line-up and he could play the number 10 roles behind Cisse which Sissoko could also play.
Mitrovic again starts the game on the bench but he makes a massive contribution when he comes on as a sub and that’s what Rafa will be hoping for but we need to see him on before the last 10 minutes.
And Henri Savet is back on the bench which is what Rafa said during the press conference yesterday.
If we are to avoid the drop then we need at least three more wins in our last five games – so the lads and Rafa will be going all out for the 3 points tonight.
Here’s what Rafa said about the opposition:
“When you talk about the top sides, they have enough good players to change if it’s necessary,” “I think Pellegrini was protecting some players, like Silva maybe, and I think that he will make some substitutions but they will still have a very good team.”
“The main thing for me is that we have to perform at the level that we performed the other day, and then we will have a chance.”
“If we believe, like we did from the first minute to the last minute against Swansea, we can beat anyone. Obviously City are a great team and it will be very difficult, but we have nothing to lose at the moment.”
“If we can do well, we will have more confidence, and if we get three points we will have even more belief.”
“They are really focused, and I think that they can handle the pressure. If you feel a bit of anxiety, what you have to do is run, fight, and give everything on the pitch,”
“I have seen their game against Chelsea and they did really well. “
“For us, when you play in the semi-final of the Champions League and you know what you can achieve, I think they will keep an eye on the Champions League and hopefully we can take advantage of that.”
Just less than one in three fans think we will this game tonight.