Rafa’s winger selection dilemma: Newcastle V Wolves Preview

Rafa confirmed in his press conference on Friday the 7th that big names: Matt Ritchie and Kenedy are available so both could start against Wolves this Sunday. 

Matt Ritchie is available for selection as he is back from serving his one match ban due to picking up five yellow cards and Kenedy has recovered from an injury to his toe.

With all wingers now available for selection Rafa now has to decide whether to rotate back to his favoured 4-2-3-1 or stick with the 5-4-1 formation which he saw success with against Burnley and Everton.

Though both formations are set up for counter attacking the opposition, the 4-2-3-1 is the most flexible system. 

When Newcastle are in control of the ball and are looking to create attacks the formation reshapes into a 4-2-4 with the wide men; Kenedy and Ritchie, readjusting their positions so they’re hugging the sidelines and the second striker pushes up into the penalty box with the target man.

With Kenedy and Ritchie playing in wider positions it stretches the opposition defence which creates space for the second striker to push up and play off the last man. As well as create opportunities for Kenedy or Ritchie to put a cross into the box. 


If Rafa goes with the flexible 4-2-3-1 then we will see more attacking and possession controlled football. 

But Rafa’s other option is to stay with the 5-4-1 which he has seen success against Burnley and Everton.


The side that we saw Rafa field against Everton was rotated because of injury but it worked well. Jacob Murphy and Christian Atsu featured in this set up against Everton which looked to played to their individual strengths as both Murphy and Atsu had very good games.

The five back style is built for absorbing pressure and quick counter attacks from dispossessing the opposition.

If Rafa goes with the 5-4-1 again we won’t expect Newcastle to have much possession, most football will be played in our own half, however we can be assured that the defending will be organised and difficult to breakdown.

With all wingers available Rafa has to decide which system to deploy his team and and what wide man options would be most effective against Wolves.

What system do you think Rafa will go with for the match against Wolves? 


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