With Saturday’s visit of Arsenal just a few days away, there’s a chance we could be without FOUR first-team players this weekend – with concerns over Jonjo Shelvey, Matt Ritchie, Salomon Rondon and DeAndre Yedlin.
Starting with Shelvey and Ritchie, both missed our most recent league game at Man City through injury. Rafa confirmed yesterday that Ritchie is still working with the physio (suggesting he’s not back in training just yet), while Shelvey has trained but is still in some pain – meaning starting him on Saturday may seem somewhat of a risk.
Benitez has insisted that both are ‘pushing’ for a return, but it sounds like it may only be Shelvey that makes it.
Then there’s Rondon & Yedlin. Neither are injured, but both were in action in the early hours of this morning – with Rondon scoring twice in Venezuela’s 2-0 win over Panama (2am kick off) and Yedlin a late sub in the USA’s 1-0 win over vs Mexico (1.30am kick off).
Both won’t be back in training until Friday and their return to Tyneside will come be after long haul flights. Will Rafa play them just 24 hours later after?
If I had to guess, Ritchie & Rondon won’t start, but Shelvey and Yedlin will..