By Amir Mir
Aleksandar Mitrovic must start when Newcastle take on Aston Villa in a hugely anticipated Championship clash on Saturday evening.
Mitrović’s physical ability and aerial threat would cause the Villa defence problems, but most importantly would complement Dwight Gayle’s pace.
Therefore, Rafa Benitez should consider making five changes to the Newcastle side that beat Wolves 2-0 on Tuesday night to progress through to the next round of the EFL Cup.
Daryl Murphy, Mo Diame, Jack Colback, Achraf Lazaar and Grant Hanley should make way, with Mitrovic, Gayle, Isaac Hayden, Paul Dummett and Jamaal Lascelles all returning to the starting fold.
Matt Ritchie and Yoan Gouffran must continue out wide, with their ability to beat defenders from the flanks a big threat to the Midlands clubs’ defence.
The in-form Jonjo Shelvey needs to start in midfield, with the 24-year-0ld scoring three goals in his last four games for the north east club.
To complement Shelvey in midfield, Isaac Hayden must be considered for a starting birth, with his composure on the ball complementing Shelvey in the middle of the park.
Finally, Benitez should consider playing a back four consisting of Dummett, Clark, Lascelles and Yedlin, with all four able to cope with the threat provided by Roberto Di Matteo’s attacking side.
In other Newcastle team news, the club’s senior play steps up his road to recovery with a long awaited appearance for the Magpies youngsters.