Rafa Benitez has just announced his team for our third league game of the season tonight – at home to Reading.
Ciaran Clark comes into central defense and he partners Chancel Mbemba. with Grant Hanley and captain Jamaal Lascelles on the bench tonight.
There are three changes from the team that started on Saturday against Huddersfield and the captain tonight is local boy Paul Dummett.
Newcastle: (4-2-3-1): Matz Sels; Vurnon Anita, Chancel Mbemba, Ciaran Clark, Paul Dummett (c); Isaac Hayden, Jonjo Shelvey; Matt Ritchie, Ayoze Perez, Yoan Gouffran; Dwight Gayle
Substitutes: Karl Darlow, Daryl Janmaat, Grant Hanley, Jamaal Lascelles, Jack Colback, Rolando Aarons, Adam Armstrong
The holding midfielders are again Isaac Hayden and Jonjo Shelvey and would you believe it – Yoan Gouffran starts on the wing.
We can only think he’s been impressive in training and of course can track back well – maybe he can get another goal for us tonight.
Matt Ritchie is on the other wing and Ayoze Perez takes up the number 10 position behind striker Dwight Gayle.
Daryl Janmaat is given a rest and utility man Vurnon Anita comes in at right back – where he looked very good at the end of last season.
Maybe right back is Vurnon’s best position these days?
The bench is very strong with no room for Jesus Gamez tonight.
This is what Rafa said yesterday about how Newcastle must improve on the first two games – both defeats:
“We know that we have to keep working hard. We have to have confidence in ourselves, but at the same time, we know that we are strong and we have to show this on the pitch.”
“We have had some chances – not too many – but we have to take our chances. We have made some mistakes – not too many – but we have paid for them, so don’t make these mistakes.”
“We have to improve almost everything, because we could have got results in both games, but we didn’t do enough to get the three points.”
“We know that it’s a question of improving the defense, improving the middle, improving the attack, and if we have players that can make the difference with the quality.
“Or we need the team working as a team to make a difference, we have to do it and we have to start tomorrow.”
“It wasn’t the best start – it was really bad in terms of results – but still, I think that at the end of the season we will be fine, we will be good, we will be where we want to be.
“It’s a long, long season, and we know that it is just the start. We have to fix things, but I have confidence that we will do well.”
A low 56% of fans think we will win this game tonight.
We need a win tonight to get some points on the board.
Howay The Lads!!