It’s not too surprising that Rafa Benitez will probably rest our top players for the upcoming 3rd round of the FA Cup on Saturday at home to League Two side Luton Town.
Rafa MUST prioritize the Premier League this season since we have to stay in the top division and that will not be easy with a team that doesn’t seem ready for the Premier League.
Of course it doesn’t say we cannot have a decent run in the FA Cup and we have seen over the Christmas period that Rafa can bring in fringe players like Mo Diame, Henri Saivet, and others, and they can play really well for the team.
It’s good to see Diame approaching something like his best form these days, which seems to have coincided with him being placed on the transfer list at Newcastle.
Rafa Benitez – indicates position we will finish in Premier League next season
A week on Saturday is a game shaping up to be a crucial game of the season as we play bottom club Swansea at home.
If we can win that game it will be the third double we have managed this season and will take us up to 7 wins for the season.
We haven’t played well at home recently and haven’t won a game since back on October 21st when we beat Crystal Palace 1-0.
We must win this one and if we cannot win it we cannot lose it either.
Rafa was asked if the FA Cup was a welcome break from the many league games we have had recently and this is what he said, as reported in the Shields Gazette:
“Not really.” “We have two or three injuries, maybe they will need some time. We don’t have too many players.”
“Playing two games in a few days, we needed to change players against Stoke.”
“To play more games is not ideal. OK, we have to do it and we will do it.”
Newcastle have Aleksandar Mitrovic (back), Florian Lejeune (foot) and Jesus Gamez (ankle) out injured and both Jamaal Lascelles and DeAndre Yedlin played in all four Christmas games and will be rested.
Luton have been given a 7,853-ticket allocation for the game and they are confident they can sell those tickets.
Luton manager Nathan Jones took over the club two years ago and he had this to say about the game on Saturday:
“It’s not a bad place to celebrate your second anniversary, going to St James’s Park and pitting your wits against Rafa.”
Nathan has Luton Town 4 points clear of second-placed Notts County and 10 points clear of third-placed Coventry City at the top of League Two.
We expect Rafa to give his fringe players an outing next Saturday, but we still have to win the game.
What do you think?