Now our Premier League status has been confirmed, Benitez may be slightly more inclined to make the odd change ahead of tonight’s trip to the South-Coast.
I don’t see him making too many changes, but there’ll be at least TWO today with Almiron and Lascelles set to miss out.
With the skipper ruled out with a ‘stomach illness’, Almiron out for the season with a hamstring problem, here’s starting 11 I see Rafa going with at the Amex today:
Predicted NUFC XI – (3-4-2-1) – Dubravka – Schar, Fernandez, Dummett – Manquillo, Hayden, Ki, Ritchie – Perez, Atsu – Rondon.
Federico Fernandez will almost certainly come in for the injured Lascelles – and rightly so given how unfortunate he’s been to miss out on Rafa’s starting 11’s over the second half of the season.
With regards to Almiron’s replacement, I’d love to see Muto start, but Rafa has been talking up Christian Atsu recently, with the Ghanaian often being the man Benitez turns to when one of Almiron or Perez is subbed off.
I feel Muto’s due a run in the team after just 5 starts all season and it seems like this is the perfect chance to play him now we’re safe, however I can see Atsu getting the nod.
Diame MUST start two of our last three games if he’s to activate a new one-year extension – highlighting his need for game time given his contract expires this summer – while both Shelvey and Yedlin will be hoping for recalls.
Preferred NUFC XI – (3-4-2-1) – Dubravka – Schar, Fernandez, Dummett – Manquillo, Hayden, Ki, Ritchie – Perez, Muto – Rondon.