Despite Monday’s disappointing display at Burnley, I don’t see Rafa Benitez making too many changes for today’s game with Bournemouth.
He doesn’t tend to do knee-jerk reactions and we are now returning to home comforts, with his trusted team tending to do well at St James’ Park if recent results are anything to go by.
With this in mind, I think Joselu and Perez will keep their place once again, with Isaac Hayden replacing Mo Diame in midfield likely to be the only change he makes.
Here’s the team I expect to line-up against Eddie Howe’s second bottom Bournemouth today:
With Merino ruled out, Isaac Hayden looks nailed on to return after Rafa stated he had now recovered from a ‘slight knock’ that made him start from the bench against Burnley.
With that in mind, I fully expect him to come in for Diame in midfield and partner Jonjo Shelvey – one of the few players who came out of the defeat at Turf Moor having earned some praise.
Diame has been doing well in training according to Rafa and did give us something different in a short cameo against Palace in our last home match, but his performance from the start against Burnley did little to suggest he’ll keep Hayden out once again now the latter is fully fit.
Also, let me say that I really do think Mitrovic deserves his chance up top – but I highly doubt Rafa feels the same way, and that’s what counts at the end of the day.
He’s offered so little in the last three and looks pretty shot for confidence, but our home form has actually been good with Joselu in the side – winning three and drawing one of the four he’s started.
I would argue argue that it doesn’t send out the best message to the players if under performing players are selected week in week out however? Rafa clearly values Joselu’s ability to fit into his intricate system and defend from the front, but I believe Mitrovic deserves his chance now – I just don’t think he’s going to get it unfortunately.
Let us know your thoughts – do you think this will be the team that plays Bournemouth today?
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