Date: 10th August 2018 at 12:18pm
Written by:

OPINION

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez must hand debuts to Salomon Rondon and Fabian Schar in his side’s Premier League opener against Tottenham at St James’ Park on Saturday.

The Magpies have been handed a tough game to kick off their season, but Benitez can without doubt cause an upset against Mauricio Pochettino’s side after they failed to sign any players in the summer transfer window.

To stun the North London club, Benitez must make some bold decisions in his team selection, and that includes leaving £9.5million (Sun) summer signing Yoshinori Muto and free signing Ki Sung-yueng on the bench to field players that are more suited to the game.

Martin Dubravka must start between the sticks without question after putting in a series of impressive displays throughout the pre-season.

DeAndre Yedlin, Jamaal Lascelles, Schar and Paul Dummett should make up the defensive four with Florian Lejeune sidelined with a long-term injury.

Mohamed Diame and Jonjo Shelvey impressed in the deeper-lying midfield positions at the end of last season and it would be best to try and counter-act Spurs’ attacking midfielders by playing two aggressive players who will chase down every lose ball and won’t be afraid to rough up the likes of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen.

Kenedy, Ayoze Perez and Matt Ritchie should be the attacking midfielders with the two wide-men crucial in helping support Rondon, who should get the nod to make his debut after joining the Magpies on loan from West Brom.

The Venezuela international scored against Tottenham at Wembley last season after bullying defender Davinson Sanchez and that is something that Benitez will surely know about going into this game.

It is no doubt going to be a mammoth task to beat Tottenham, but with the right men playing and with Benitez on the sidelines, anything is possible against a team that may be still feeling fatigued from the World Cup.