Newcastle United team news: Diame axed for Merino in expected XI

By Russell Edge

7th May, 2018 | 4:06pm

Newcastle expected XI v Tottenham: Senior powerhouse axed as rarely-seen star returns


Newcastle United seem to have gone on holiday early after three successive defeats – but manager Rafael Benitez will not tolerate slacking in the final games of the season.

The Magpies have lost against Everton, West Brom and most recently to Watford, and with two games left to play their hopes of securing a top 10 finish hang in the balance.

With the threat of relegation over, Benitez chose to rotate his side with two changes against the Hornets but it backfired at Vicarage Road, the home side dominating the north east club in the opening 45 minutes, a Martin Dubravka penalty save preventing the scoreline from being any more than 2-0 at half time.

After disappointment, the Spanish boss is expected to rotate yet again against Tottenham on Wednesday night, bringing back those dropped against Watford as well as a rarely seen favourite.

Mohamed Diame, Javier Manquillo and Jacob Murphy are expected to drop out in place of Mikel Merino, DeAndre Yedlin and Matt Ritchie, as they look to exact revenge on Spurs for their opening day win at St James’ Park.

Manquillo was brought in for a rare start but failed to impress other than a cross for Ayoze Perez’s goal, and Yedlin is expected to take back his place in the starting XI.

Merino, who has barely been seen by the Newcastle faithful in recent weeks, with just 20 minutes of action in the last seven matches, will be keen to start and with Diame having struggled on Saturday, Benitez may choose to switch his options in the midfield.

Meanwhile Ritchie was rested against the Hornets and will likely want to come back and prove his point, while up front Perez and Dwight Gayle will likely lead the line.

In other Newcastle United news, the club’s transfer budget has finally been revealed after an £80million windfall.

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