Rafa Benitez has a selection dilemma ahead of the FA Cup tie against Chelsea, with a vital Premier League game against Burnley looming.
The Magpies have a crucial week ahead of them, with an FA Cup Fourth Round tie and a midweek Premier League game the backdrop to a season-defining end to the transfer window.
All the talk has been about new players arriving at St James’ Park lately, but Benitez also needs to turn his attention to matters on the pitch as well as off it.
Newcastle have been handed a tough FA Cup tie away to Chelsea, made all the worse by BT Sport moving it to Sunday afternoon, meaning Benitez will have just three days to then prepare his side for Burnley on Wednesday night.
Out of the two games, the Burnley one has to be considered the more important, as three points could go a long way to securing Newcastle’s fate at the end of the season.
However, that does not mean that Benitez should simply throw the towel in at Stamford Bridge. The Spaniard played a strong team in the third round against Luton, and will surely do the same versus the Premier League champions.
Antonio Conte is likely to make various changes to his faltering Chelsea side, meaning there could be a chance of an upset. If Benitez’s men go for it, they could catch Chelsea cold and take some real confidence into a vital Premier League game just days later.
Benitez will not disrespect the travelling fans by putting out a severely weakened side at Stamford Bridge, but fans will be praying it is not to the detriment of their Premier League game versus Burnley.
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