Speed machine returns, trio axed in 4-2-3-1: This Newcastle XI would batter Bournemouth
COMMENT by Russell Edge
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez must ring the changes to his starting XI in the club’s clash against Bournemouth on Saturday.
The Magpies come into the match at St James’ Park off the back of a bitterly disappointing defeat to Burnley on Monday, with Jeff Hendrick’s goal the only thing separating the two sides.
However Benitez’s men looked bereft of ideas against Sean Dyche’s side, who looked to have more energy, inventiveness and attacking threat at Turf Moor.
It was not the sort of display which the Spanish manager or the Toon Army want to witness from their side, and it is for that reason he must make several swaps to his line up against the Cherries if he wants to batter a side languishing in the relegation zone.
The axe must fall on Joselu, Mo Diame and Florian Lejeune, with speed machine Dwight Gayle, midfield enforcer Isaac Hayden and Mr reliable Ciaran Clark taking their places in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
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In defence there should only be the one change, as the majority of the back line performed to expectation against the Clarets.
Lejeune was caught out of position for the winning goal which makes it two mistakes in three matches which have led to goals, and for that reason the dependable Clark should return.
In midfield Hayden, who was nursing a knock against Burnley, should retake his spot from replacement Diame, with Jonjo Shelvey joining him in the centre of the park.
Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie are without doubt the first choice wingers and for good reason, and Saturday’s clash will give the duo the chance to star against their former side, having both spent time on the south coast.
The much criticised Ayoze Perez should retain his spot in the number 10 role, partly due to a lack of other options, while Gayle should be utilised up top to add mobility and pace to a forward line which offered little against Burnley.
Start with that line up and Benitez will step out into the dug out at St James’ Park with every chance of breezing past Bournemouth.
In other Newcastle United news, Benitez has tried to sell this star twice and will do so again in the January transfer window.