COMMENT By Harvey Byrne
Newcastle should change from their usual 4-4-1-1 formation against Blackburn on Staurday at St James’ Park.
A 4-4-2 would be more beneficial for the north east club in order to accommodate star forward duo Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic.
The 22-year-old Serbia international has found himself behind Gayle this season with the striker in hot form.
However, Mitrovic could prove to be a huge asset and they can’t risk making him unhappy through lack of match time.
Managers have looked to move away from the old fashioned 4-4-2 in recent times, but Leicester proved with their title win last season that it can still work.
Additionally, Newcastle’s dominance over England’s second tier would suggest that they don’t need that extra body in midfield and that they can play with two upfront.
Gayle and Mitrovic have the potential to form a good partnership in the Premier League next season and it will be worth Rafa Benitez testing the two against a weak Blackburn side.
Attacker Ayoze Perez should drop out of the line-up for Mitrovic, with Vurnon Anita and Jack Colback also being replaced by Isaac Hayden and DeAndre Yedlin.
Attacking full-back Yedlin will be better suited to play in a fixture against a team like Blackburn with his ability to get up and down the pitch at impressive speeds.
Meanwhile, Hayden has the potential to become a starting centre-midfielder in the Premier League and Benitez must nurture his talent and give him match time.
The experienced manager should also refrain from using his rotation policy on the wing roles with Matt Ritchie and Yoan Gouffran being key to the Magpies side.
The duo have bagged eight goals and provided 10 in 33 appearances between them this season and will surely create chances against a Blackburn defence, which has conceded 27 goals in 17 fixtures.
Paul Dummett, Ciaran Clark, Jamaal Lascelles and Karl Darlow must also feature in the defensive unit alongside Yedlin.
The quartet will grow a better understanding through pitch time together and in the long run it will help the team to maintain their impressive defensive record.
In other Newcastle team news, this Toon player has given an update on his fitness on Twitter.