Predicted Newcastle United XI vs Nottingham Forest
Newcastle United lost their number 1 position on boxing day following a 1-nil defeat at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday at the Saint James’ Park, but would now make an attempt to bounce back when they face Nottingham Forest at the same ground 2 days to the end of 2016.
The match would be the start of the return legs with every team in the Championship having faced one another already, and it’s an opportunity for Newcastle to convince all and sundry of their true quality after losing 6 games of the first 23 fixtures.
Rafa Benitez can only hope his charges have a response to their boxing day underwhelming performance, and here is how he could lineup his starting XI against the 18th-placed visitors.
Formation : 4-4-1-1
GK – Darlow
Had his players and defence let him down in a man-of-the-match display against Wednesday, but would now be expected to put that disappointment behind and produce another spectacular display against Forest as he did in the first leg.
LB – Dummett
Many blamed him for the opponent’s goal the last time out, but the Welsh defender can be counted upon to put in a much more better performance on Friday evening as he will likely get the nod.
CB – Lascelles
The young centre-back has been outstanding thus far, and has only failed to appear in a league game.
He was Newcastle’s best defender against Sheffield just as he has been for the majority of the season, and would be tasked with keeping Forest’s attackers at bay.
CB – Clark
Squandered some free headers last time out and could have easily salvaged a point for Newcastle.
Would be expected to do more in front of goal and add to his 2 tallies while also putting in great defensive work at the back for the second half of the season.
RB – Yedlin
Was benched for the last game for Anita but might make a return to the starting XI after the Dutch full-back failed to impress.
Yedlin has made 8 starts this season and might make it 9 on Friday night.
CM – Colback
He could be saddled with the responsibility of filling in again while Shevley enters the 2nd game of his 5-match ban.
Much more would be asked of him this time around after a below-par game the last time.
CM – Hayden
The youngster has to step up his game and do better now that he doesn’t have the support of Shelvey.
He was impressive against the visitors earlier this month and would be looked upon to help keep Newcastle’s midfield together and shield the back four.
LM – Atsu
With Yoan Gouffran very anonymous the last time, the Ghanaian winger might get a nod for Friday’s game, and it’s another rare opportunity for him to impress as he can be sure his parent club Chelsea, are monitoring him.
RM – Ritchie
Scored against Forest in the first leg and was Newcastle’s best outfield player on Monday.
The Scottish winger has been impressive in the attacking third of recent, scoring thrice and assist 6 thus far. Another start awaits on Friday.
SCF – Perez
Diame couldn’t make much happen on Monday, and Perez could be deployed as supporting striker behind Gayle.
CF – Gayle
Was very unlucky to add to his 17 strikes the last time and had a hard time against Forest in the first leg.
He has to prove his worth once more on Friday and help Newcastle pocket all 3 points.