Having a big squad and a clean bill of health is always helpful heading into the busy festive period, but we have neither as we head into Saturday’s game with Huddersfield.
Yedlin is suspended, Fernandez and Shelvey appear to have knocks (with both missing training yesterday) and it’s not yet known if Paul Dummett is fit enough to start.
Huddersfield have plenty big injury issues of their own with star man Aaron Mooy ruled out and Smith, Hogg and Kongolo all doubts, but it will be interesting to see what side Rafa selects – with him having injuries, suspensions and the need to rotate to contend with.
As a result of all the above, here’s the side I see him starting:
Schar is back from a ban so he is almost certain to come back in (even if Fernandez is fit), with Manquillo likely to replace Yedlin as our right-wing back.
Rafa may yet opt for his tried and trusted 4-2-3-1 system, but given we’ve won one and drawn one of our last two away games using the above system, I see him sticking with it for the trip to Huddersfield.
One of Ki or Diame probably needs a rest, but with Shelvey a doubt and Hayden out of sorts, I can’t see anything other than those two in the middle once again.
Atsu has taken his chance well in our last two games, but I can see Kenedy coming in for this one, with him likely to be fresh after failing to start since the win at Burnley a few weeks ago.
What do you reckon folks?