Date: 25th April 2019 at 7:47am
Written by:

OPINION

Newcastle United recorded an excellent 3-1 win over Southampton last Saturday after an outstanding contribution from Ayoze Perez.

The 25-year-old netted a hat-trick to ensure his team of all three points and keep them mathematically safe from the Premier League this season.

After the morale boosting victory last weekend, Rafa Benitez will be hoping to build upon that by heaping further misery on Brighton this Saturday, who are fighting a relegation battle of their own.

In order to have the best chance of beating them, the manager must make two changes to the side that got one over the Saints.

In goal, Martin Dubravka must start as normal.

Benitez will obviously stick to his tactic of playing a back five, and despite the fact that centre-back Fabian Schar came off after a suspected injury, the club confirmed on their Twitter that he has returned to training – meaning that he is line to start this Saturday.

Javier Manquillo made some vital interceptions that evening, but in order to really hurt the Seagulls – who can be a bit fragile defensively sometimes – Benitez needs to inject a lot of pace down the right-hand side. In order to do this, he must drop Manquillo – who is on £35,000-a-week [Spotrac] – in favour of DeAndre Yedlin. Yedlin is known for his electric speed, and this could prove dividends.

Isaac Hayden also came off in the Southampton win, but he is now back in training, which means that he is in line to start on Saturday. He must start alongside Ki sung-yueng, who looked improved during the last game.

However, Miguel Almiron came off in the 64th minute with what looked like a hamstring injury, so it is unlikely that he is going to play. In his place should come Christian Atsu, who is the best choice to replace him at this moment in time.

Ayoze Perez starting is a no-brainer after his three goals, and Salomon Rondon must lead the line once again after an assured display.

If Benitez makes the right calls with his starting XI, then his team has every chance of blitzing past Brighton with ease on Saturday.