Rafa Almost Certain To Give Fringe Players Their Chance In FA Cup

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?

Comments welcome.

15 comments so far

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Jan 3, 2018 at 1:39 PM

    Comment #1

    Would love to see us get Walcott and Slimani on loan both hungry for game time and and would give us serious power and pace up top

    Probably looking at about 3 or 4 million each in loan fees mind you but selling Mitrovic could cover them if Ashley really is that skint !!

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Jan 3, 2018 at 1:41 PM

    Comment #2

    For the cup game I think some players need game time would play this team:

    Woodman GK
    Sterry RB
    Mbemba CB
    Dummett CB
    Haidara LB
    Saviet CM
    Hayden CM
    Barlaser CM
    Aarons LW
    Murphy RW
    Gayle CF

    That should surely be good enough to beat Luton !! Something very wrong if we cant do it

  • catchy in norway

    Jan 3, 2018 at 1:42 PM

    Comment #3

    Luton are on fire at the mo, flying high with that can beat anyone attitude,

    the most interesting thing in this game for me is how Rafa sets us up at home against “easier” opposition.

    hope he allows the team to try and beat Luton instead of playing pardews keep it tight for 60-70 mins and have a go if your still in the game boring tactic

  • Rotonda heights

    Jan 3, 2018 at 1:43 PM

    Comment #4


    it’s very sad that after an unusally pleasant comment for you, you then resort to type with an insult. very sad.

  • Lindisfarne

    Jan 3, 2018 at 1:49 PM

    Comment #6

    Come on Rafa
    Twist and shout
    Come on Rafa now
    Work it on out – ooooh!

  • catchy in norway

    Jan 3, 2018 at 1:55 PM

    Comment #7


    i thought i’d get it in first, normally every comment i post nice or not you come back with a negative,

    i cannot win either way with some on here.

    like i have said many times before, you used to post about football and not the personnel, meaning Football was more important, now for many it seems 2 men are the most important thing. one owner one manager and the football has literally been forgot about.

    people bigging up players after a win only to knock them down after a loss, that’s the very sad part in all this.

    for me the players show us that they can go toe to toe with a lot of the teams but are held back or the formation/personnel changes so often continuity has gone right out the window with most of the players form.
    like i say, with the previous 2 managers, you of all people got that

  • Frank pingles come sock

    Jan 3, 2018 at 1:56 PM

    Comment #8

    Good follow up that !!

  • Legolas

    Jan 3, 2018 at 1:58 PM

    Comment #9

    @C-dog, I was in a pub the other day and there was definitely a few orcs in there but all was fine as I dildo baggins with me.

  • Lindisfarne

    Jan 3, 2018 at 1:58 PM

    Comment #10

    The question put to Rafa, prior to this quote was “are you looking forward to the FA cup match?” and his initial response was only a semi-serious “not really”.

  • Lindisfarne

    Jan 3, 2018 at 2:02 PM

    Comment #11

    Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    I think Lejuene and Joselu may play.

  • Jib

    Jan 3, 2018 at 2:02 PM

    Comment #12

    Two things Rafa won’t want on Saturday
    A blood and thunder cup tie with tackles
    flying in all over the show.
    A draw on 90 minutes with a trip to Kenilworth Road
    on the Wednesday

  • Lindisfarne

    Jan 3, 2018 at 2:07 PM

    Comment #13

    catchy in norway

    Luton may be perceived as easier opposition but with inevitable number of changes to the starting team, I do not expect any radical change in tactics. Get yourself comfortable for the most boring and frustrating time of your life, I am sure your partner will empathise.

  • Mister Tuff

    Jan 3, 2018 at 2:11 PM

    Comment #14


    Mister Tuff

    Jan 3, 2018 at 2:09 PM
    Comment #107

    jesper – indeed. Always a dodgy game predictions -based on faith/and or other folk controlling what the outcome is.
    I think we are going to be taken over – but like everyone else cannot prove it one way or another.

    Bit akin to Martin Luther Kings famous speech :-

    “I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. So I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man.”

  • Lindisfarne

    Jan 3, 2018 at 2:29 PM

    Comment #15

    “”Aleksandar Mitrovic, Jesus Gamez, Rob Elliot and Florian Lejeune have been sidelined with back, ankle, thigh and foot injuries respectively in recent weeks, and Benitez has suggested he will not risk any of that quartet in the FA Cup.””

    – that excludes Lejuene then!

    “”Joselu was not risked against former side Stoke City after suffering from cramp during training, while Mikel Merino and Isaac Hayden were also used sparingly over the festive period too.””

    – I would have thought Joselu could bag some goals and improve his confidence, whilst Merino and Hayden need to gain match sharpness, along with Dummett. However, the risk needs to be outwayed with providing player options for league games.


You must log in to post a comment.