Rafa Benitez has just announced his Newcastle side for the important home game against Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace this afternoon and as we had expected in comes Gini Wijnaldum for Ayoze Perez as the one change to the team that did so well in fighting back last week against Liverpool.
Newcastle (4-2-3-1): Karl Darlow; Vurnon Anita, Chancel Mbemba, Jamaal Lascelles, Paul Dummett; Cheick Tiote, Jack Colback; Andros Townsend, Georginio Wijnaldum, Moussa Sissoko (c); Papiss Cisse
Substitutes: Freddie Woodman, Kevin Mbabu, Steven Taylor, Jonjo Shelvey, Siem de Jong, Ayoze Perez, Aleksandar Mitrovic
Crystal Palace (4-2-3-1): Wayne Hennessey; Joel Ward, Scott Dann, Damien Delaney, Pape Souare; Mile Jedinak (c), James McArthur; Jason Puncheon, Yohan Cabaye, Yannick Bolasie; Connor Wickham
Substitutes: Alex McCarthy, Adrian Mariappa, Martin Kelly, Joe Ledley, Bakary Sako, Dwight Gayle, Emmanuel Adebayor
Referee: Mike Dean (The Wirral)
Gini will now have this game to prove to Newcastle fans just how good he is as an attacking force and hopefully he can add to his 9 goals this season – all scored at home.
It’s not rocket science but we thought Gini would come in for Perez this week.
It also looks like Gini will be playing in the number 10 role with Moussa moving to the wing – but of course they can interchange too.
Wilfried Zaha is out injured and former Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye returns to Newcastle for the first time since he left for PSG over two years ago.
This is a game we can win today and it’s a complete sellout – and that’s terrific – and one good way to keep Rafa at Newcastle next season – whatever happens.
This is what the manager has said about today’s game:
“Obviously we have to win.” “Crystal Palace will try their best but at this stage of the season everyone wants to win and knows how important it is.”
“The last few games we have seen the team spirit and the character – that is why everyone has more confidence.”
“Hopefully we can score the first goal and get the fans behind the team. Hopefully we will see that until the end of the season and into next season in the Premier League.”
“Everybody knows what it means to be in a final,” “It’s so hard to get into a final and once you’re there obviously you have to be careful.”
“Their players will be thinking about the final, in the back of their minds they will not want to pick up any injuries but also want to prove themselves.”
“But we have to think about our own situation and try to win. We’ll have the fans behind us and we have to give everything.”
“They were doing really well earlier in the season so we know that they have a good team that are well organised and play good counter attacking football.”
“Now they are more or less safe. You have to do the maths but, for me, they are safe.”
“When you prepare for the game you look for weaknesses in the opposition and unfortunately there aren’t too many.”
“The main thing now is concentrating on our team so that we can win.”
A whopping 85% think we will win this game this afternoon.
We need to win this game ….. we must win this game.
Howay The Lads!!