Jamaal Lascelles, Christian Atsu and Isaac Hayden may all be out of Saturday’s game against Watford, but the potential return of Mikel Merino and Paul Dummett could see our starting 11 look rather interesting this weekend.
The pair are back in training and look like they could return to the fold IF they come through unscathed.
With this in mind, here’s the intriguing NUFC XI we could be set to see face Watford on Saturday:
4-4-2 / 4-4-1-1: Elliot – Yedlin, Lejeune, Clark, Dummett – Ritchie, Shelvey, Merino, Murphy – Gayle – Joselu.
Starting at the back, Clark and Lejeune look set to continue in Lascelles’ absence. They had a mixed time of it at Old Trafford but they were Rafa Benitez’s first-choice pairing over pre-season.
Dummett’s return at left-back could give us that bid of added solidarity and balance. Manquillo has done ok, but the right-footed full-back hasn’t always looked comfortable down that side.
Merino’s return would be a huge boost and, if fit, he looks to have all the assets to fulfil a box-to-box role alongside Jonjo Shelvey.
Jacob Murphy had his most promising display in black and white at Man Utd last weekend and I expect him to start once again in place of Christian Atsu. It’s also worth mentioning that he could have a bit more freedom to go forward if he was used down the left, with the more defensive-minded Dummett allowing him a bit more license to attack – if he makes it that is.
Up top, Gayle and Joselu could go again. The former has looked much sharper recently and may have gained some confidence after getting off the mark last weekend, while the latter is a player Rafa tends to keep faith with – despite fans’ urging him to give Mitrovic his chance.
Let us know your thoughts folks – would you like to see this side start vs Watford this weekend?