Rafa Benitez has spoken this week of the problem it is in a team when you lose an important player like Matt Ritchie.
Matt has been great for us this season so far, but he picked u his 5th yellow card last Saturday at Deepdale and he will sit out tomorrow’s game, although he’s not too pleased about that.
Matt is the type of lad who likes to be fully involved in everything at Newcastle, which is one reason the fans have already taken to him.
Christian Atsu – likely to get start tomorrow in place of Ritchie
This is what Rafa said this week about the absence of the 27 year-old Scottish International:
“It is always a problem when you lose an important player like Matt Ritchie but at the same time, it is the opportunity for others to show they are good enough.”
“They have been doing that this season and I think it’s an opportunity for another to show the level that he has.”
But Newcastle have almost a ready-made replacement in 24 year-old Christian Atsu, who can come in on the right wing and do a good job for the side.
Christian is motivated to do really well, because he wants his loan deal to be made permanent by Newcastle and possibly during the January transfer window.
Christian has identified one area of his game he wants to improve quickly – and that is scoring goals.
Atsu has one goal this season (that fantastic winner at Rotherham) compared to three for Matt – but he’s also hit the woodwork three times and will have a chance tomorrow to add to that total against Cardiff.
While Cardiff City are 4th bottom of the league, they have improved over the last four games (7 points) with experienced manager Neil Warnock now in charge.
But we cannot have any slip-ups and need another win tomorrow – and that would be our 8th win in a row.
That will send Newcastle fans away very happy for the two week International break.
That’s what we need.
What do you think?