Newcastle’s Premier League season comes to an end against Fulham this weekend.
The Magpies have nothing to play for and neither do their opponents. A win for Newcastle could see them go up one place to 13th, eclipsing last season’s points tally in the process.
As for Fulham, they were relegated a while back and are merely playing for pride. However, it will be Scott Parker’s first game since getting the job on a permanent basis.
The Cottagers have looked better in recent weeks, so who will Rafa Benitez pick as he looks to end the season with a win?
No changes at the back
DeAndre Yedlin has had surgery on a groin injury so he won’t be available, meaning Javi Manquillo will continue as the right wing-back.
The three centre-backs will likely remain the same, unless Federico Fernandez gets a chance from the start.
With Antonio Barreca’s loan spell set to come to an end, there’s no point giving him a chance in the team now. Matt Ritchie has been exceptional, while Benitez clearly hasn’t seen enough from his January signing in training.
Ki ruled out
There will be one change to the team that lost to Liverpool. Ki Sung-Yueng will miss the trip to Fulham due to a knee injury, meaning there will be an enforced change in the middle.
Jonjo Shelvey should be the man to get the nod, as he looks to carve out a future at Newcastle. The other option is Mo Diame, but it looks like he’ll leave St James’ Park this summer when his contract ends.
Isaac Hayden will surely start in what he will hope to be his final game for the club.
Give Muto a chance
With nothing to play for and a decent enough opponent, this should be the game where Yoshinori Muto gets a chance to start.
The Japanese forward will hopefully start at Craven Cottage, replacing either Ayoze Perez or Christian Atsu. We believe the latter is more likely to drop out, as starting without Perez would dent our attacking exploits severely.
It could also be Salomon Rondon’s final game for the club. Hopefully he signs off with a goal and a permanent deal can be arranged in the near future.
Predicted lineup to play Fulham: Dubravka; Schar, Lascelles, Dummett; Manquillo, Shelvey, Hayden, Ritchie; Perez, Muto, Rondon.