Monday’s defeat to Burnley doesn’t require an overreaction – we are still 9th in the table and have started well – however there were some pretty poor performances in a dour display at Turf Moor.
With this in mind, I’d be inclined to see Rafa make a TWO much needed changes to the side that will take on Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth at St James’ Park at 3pm tomorrow afternoon – and believe this is probably the prevailing opinion amongst *most* NUFC fans.
OUT: Joselu & Diame
IN: Mitrovic & Hayden
Our home form may be good with Joselu in the side, but he’s offered so little in the last three and looks pretty shot for confidence. I’d also argue that it doesn’t send out the best message to the players if under performing players are selected week in week out? Yes it’s about the result not the performance for Rafa and the ability for a player to fit into his intricate system, but I believe Mitrovic deserves his chance now. He’s been in great form for Serbia, started the season off well with us and needs to be given a chance to prove that he actually has learnt his lesson at NUFC and can be trusted by Benitez.
It’s a risk I don’t see Rafa taking unfortunately, but he’s served his time on the sidelines and Joselu probably needs rotating.
My other change, which won’t come as too much of a surprise, is to see Isaac Hayden return to the engine room in place of Mo Diame (Mikel Merino is out injured, otherwise I’d have chosen him).
Diame put himself about as best he could on Monday, but he looks a little laboured and clumsy in midfield, failing to offer a great deal both offensively or defensively.
Hayden is a better athlete, is stronger in the tackle and will give us better balance in midfield alongside Jonjo Shelvey.