FIVE players Benitez could be set to drop for Wednesday’s game against Everton

Despite the huge disappointment of Saturday’s defeat to Leicester, there’s no time for dithering, with a huge game just around the corner against Everton on Wednesday.

With this in mind, and the fact that’s now three straight defeats on the bounce at St James’ Park, here’s FIVE player who are at risk of being dropped following their below par displays against Leicester over the weekend:

Matt Ritchie

I don’t know what’s up with him. He looked alive and alert in the first 10 minutes of the Leicester game and was tearing around like the Ritchie we all know so well, but he faded badly.

He’s normally the heartbeat of our team, our busy bee and our creative force out wide but he’s looked a shadow of his former self in recent weeks. Does he need a rest? Or would the introduction of Atsu in his place give him the kick up the behind he needs?


The pair really haven’t looked comfortable ever since Lascelles came off injured against Bournemouth early last month. So much so, we’ve conceded 15 goals in just 5 games since that point, highlighting just how they’ve struggled to steady the ship in his absence.

The central midfield and full backs haven’t protected them nearly enough (Yedlin in particular), but they’ve looked shot for confidence and I’m fully expecting one of them to make way for Lascelles’ much needed return on Wednesday.

Isaac Hayden

Unfortunately, I’m struggling to know what did he actually did for us on Saturday? He’s a combative midfielder who gets around the pitch, wins battles and gets stuck in but we didn’t see any of that against Leicester.

Given we’re at home and are in need of three points, the more influential Jonjo Shelvey surely has to take his place against Everton?

Karl Darlow

He may have only been in the team for three games following Elliot’s exile, but there’s something about him that doesn’t fill me with confidence – especially when the chips are down.

He should’ve got a much stronger hand on Mahrez’s equaliser and parried a few crosses unconvincingly.

Elliot is a stronger character and more of a leader (two things we lack at the moment) and his return for such a big game may be beneficial in the dressing room and on the pitch.

Javier Manquillo

His performance against Leicester reminded me of one we’d regularly see from Davide Santon. Doesn’t look too clever defensively and, despite his attempted forays forward, his attacks down the left are too predictable, with him always wanting to come in on his right foot.

Mbemba or Dummett would be my choices at left-back over him – especially the latter in a tough, must-win game like this.


Yedlin is another candidate, but we’re not blessed with obvious alternatives at right back!?

Let us know your thoughts – anyone I missed??

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About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

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