Newcastle United fans have taken to social media to react to manager Rafael Benitez’s decision to axe midfielder Mikel Merino for the club’s home clash against Swansea City on Saturday.
The Magpies revealed their starting XI via their official Twitter account, confirming that the Spanish boss had chosen to make four changes from the team which beat Luton Town 3-1 in the FA Cup last weekend.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 13, 2018
Freddie Woodman, Javier Manquillo, Jacob Murphy and Merino all dropped out of the line up, with Karl Darlow, DeAndre Yedlin, Christian Atsu and Mohamed Diame all taking their places.
Of the changes, it was the exclusion of the Spanish central midfielder which had fans up in arms on Twitter for all the wrong reasons, with many questioning why Diame has been selected ahead of their summer signing.
Here, Football Insider has rounded up a selection of the supporters’ best tweets:
Not happy that Merino & Murphy are on the bench, like.
— Marc Jobling (@MarcJobling) January 13, 2018
Other than Merino, can’t complain at that. Should be more than good enough to beat Swansea
— CJH (@connorjh91) January 13, 2018
What does merino need to do to get a game
— Wayne more (@Carrollsinger) January 13, 2018
Swap Merino for Diame and that’s pretty much our strongest side, no complaints with that. Howay the lads! #NUFC
— Chris Black (@ChrisBlack10) January 13, 2018
Why is merino on the bench ???? #nufc
— Rog1986 (@R_N_Rodge86) January 13, 2018
diame instead of merino…..never ceases to amaze me how he still gets a game, ok he did ok recently but what about the other games where the corner flag has more movement and creativity
— jimmy kelly (@xskye69x) January 13, 2018
Would have liked to see Merino start to control the game, but hopefully that team is good enough to get the 3 points. Shows what Rafa has had to work with when every player in that line up is from last seasons Championship squad
— Leroy (@LeroyNUFC) January 13, 2018
Newcastle have enjoyed a perfect start to 2018, having beaten Stoke City 1-0 away in their first match of the calendar year before seeing off the challenge of League Two’s table toppers in their cup clash, and will be hoping to complete the double over Swansea after securing a 1-0 win in the reverse tie.
The Swansea meanwhile are yet to taste victory in the new year, with defeat to Tottenham followed by a 0-0 draw with Championship leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers, as Carlos Carvalhal takes charge of his fourth game after replacing Paul Clement as manager.
In other Newcastle United news, the club are set for imminent talks over the bargain capture of a youth hot shot.