Date: 9th February 2019 at 5:00pm
Written by:

OPINION

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez is expected to drop Matt Ritchie and Isaac Hayden for his team’s visit to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday night.

The Chronicle reported on Friday that the Spaniard will welcome Paul Dummett, Karl Darlow, Mohamed Diame and Ki Sung-yueng back to full fitness against Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.

With that said, it’s likely that Dummett and Diame will come in for Ritchie and Hayden. Ritchie has performed well at left wing back but Dummett is a more natural solution at the position, while Diame was clearly preferred to Hayden earlier on this season.

The Magpies boss has significant options for what feels like the first time this season but will surely resist the urge to throw club record signing Miguel Almiron in from the start at Molineux, so bear that in mind when looking at betting offers on the first goalscorer market.

In fact, Newcastle’s lack of goals this season, they’re the second lowest scorers in the Premier League, means that you’ll get long odds or at least 7/1 on most Newcastle players to score at any time. Added to the fact that Rafa Benitez’s men are pretty solid at the back and you can expect a low-scoring game, meaning that the unders on two goals scored in the match at evens would be a shrewd bet with Ladbrokes or bet365.

Martin Dubravka made a horrific error against Tottenham Hotspur last time out but has been largely excellent this term. He will almost certainly start again between the sticks. DeAndre Yedlin is the only real choice on the right hand side of the defence and can expect to start again here.

As mentioned, Dummett will likely replace Ritchie at left wing back. Meanwhile, Fabian Schar, Jamaal Lascelles and Florian Lejeune appear to have solidified their grasp on the three centre back positions and will surely continue at the heart of the Newcastle defence.

Further forward, Diame looks set to come in for Hayden in central midfield. The Senegal international will be expected to provide the muscle in the middle of the park, with Sean Longstaff, who will likely start, producing the guile.

Ayoze Perez and Christian Atsu will probably get one more week in the starting line up before Almiron takes one of their starting spots. They can both expect to feature from the start on Monday.

Up front, it’s no surprise that Salomon Rondon is expected to lead the line. The goalscoring burden is firmly on the Venezuelan’s shoulders, but he has handled it admirably so far this campaign.