Rafa Benitez has just named his side for this afternoon’s 4th round FA Cup tie at Chelsea.
Rafa has made a few surprise selections with Sadio Haidara, Chancel Mbemba and Henri Saivet starting this game.
We expect the formation will be something like 5-4-1.
Starting XI: Darlow, Manquillo, Mbemba, Lascelles (c), Clark, Haïdara, Shelvey, Saivet, Hayden, Ritchie, Gayle.
Subs: Woodman, Yedlin, Dummett, Diamé, Atsu, Murphy, Joselu. pic.twitter.com/SBBxT7PbB8
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 28, 2018
The rest of the team is not too surprising with Dwight Gayle in the lineup.
It looks like subs Yedlin, Dummett, Diame, Atsu, Murphy, and Joselu will start the game at home to Burnley on Wednesday night.
Henri Saivet – starts the game today
Here’s what Rafa has said about the game today:
“I think we have to find the balance. I always say we can progress in any competition, in this case in the FA Cup, if we have the squad strong enough to compete.”
“We will see if we can do it, but I will use the squad, for sure.”
“Every game is important, but obviously, we know how massive it is to stay in the Premier League, because of all the money around and then you can improve your team if you have more money.”
“We will use some players that were maybe not playing, and obviously some that were. I need to find this balance between players with match fitness and players who are not playing too much.”
“I am sure they (Chelsea) will consider this the most important competition for them right now.”
“The league is very difficult for them, they are out of the Carabao Cup, so I think it is a priority for them.”
“I think it will be a very strong side in front of us.”
As Rafa hints at, the FA Cup is not a priority for Newcastle this season, the league is, but it’s always good to win games.
About one-quarter of our fans think we can win this game today – let’s hope they are right.
Howay The Lads!!