It looks like captain Jamaal Lascelles could miss the game tomorrow at the Etihad Stadium because of his ankle injury in what is another tough Premier League game for Newcastle.
New signing Federico Fernandez has played the last couple of games and has shown his vast experience and skill for Newcastle, and he could turn out to be an absolute bargain buy at only £6M.
And it looks like Fernandez will play again tomorrow – his third game in 8 days.
We expect Rafa to replicate the formation of five at the back we used against Chelsea for the test at Manchester City tomorrow in the late game.
Federico Fernandez – in action against Chelsea – organizing the defense
This is what Federico has said in Chronicle Live today:
“I have played a lot of games in Wales last season in a three-man central defense.”
I know the system and how it works, and why we need to do it against top sides like Chelsea and Manchester City,”
“Teams try to put teams in between the lines and so we have to make sure we don’t give too much time to them, then we can recover the ball and try to create our own chances.”
“I saw during training in the week when we trained in this system, so the gaffer told me I had to play in the middle.”
“We were working very hard during the week to improve this system, and we will do going forward, too.”
“It’s an important position and I feel good that the gaffer has the confidence in me to play this role so early in my Newcastle career.”
“I try to talk to the lads, pull them into the right position, and it’s a role I know well so I tried to help Fabian [Schar] and [Ciaran] Clark to be tight with the striker, and try to cover them in the last part of the box.”
“We had our game plan and it was working really well [against Chelsea].”
“We didn’t concede too many chances to Chelsea, we tried to restrict the space for their attacking players like Hazard and Pedro,”
“Then when we got the ball we tried to counter-attack them if we could. We created a couple of chances from corners and set pieces, and I think the penalty was unlucky.”
“We kept pushing, we scored and made it 1-1, then we conceded an unlucky own goal. We worked very hard and I think we deserved a point, but this is football. It was not our day.”
“But we know how tough our start of the season is. Our focus is now on Man City, and they have more or less the same style as Chelsea, if not better.”
Now we know why Rafa wanted Jamaal Lascelles to play on the right side of the three center-backs and why Rafa wanted Federico to play in the middle and control things at the back.
He did an excellent job last Saturday, and the same will be needed tomorrow.
Maybe we can get something out of the game at the Etihad tomorrow, but it will be extremely difficult – this is probably our toughest fixture of the season.