Newcastle United return to Premier League action on Saturday lunchtime, and Eddie Howe has the unenviable task of motivating his players for a game against Manchester City following last weekend’s disappointment.
Howe will be hoping that his players aren’t feeling too sorry for themselves after the Carabao Cup final defeat. He will no doubt lean on the experience of Kieran Trippier, while it is also a chance to freshen up his side.
Newcastle have barely made any changes since the World Cup. Howe has had a pool of 13 or 14 players who have started every game, and it is clear that some of them are in need of a rest.
And now the Toon boss has the luxury of more options following the January arrival of Anthony Gordon. He cost £45million from Everton, but was cup-tied for the Carabao Cup final.
He is available once again this weekend, and Howe should hand him his first Newcastle start at the Etihad.
Eddie Howe should pick Anthony Gordon over Miguel Almiron
The 22-year-old has been limited to substitute appearances so far for his new club, but deserves a chance to start on Saturday.
Newcastle need fresh legs and different ideas, and Gordon can certainly provide that. But who should he come in for?
It has to be one of Allan Saint-Maximin or Miguel Almiron. And we believe it should be the latter.
While Maxi wasn’t amazing at Wembley, he was certainly a threat – and he has already proven this season that he can thrive against Man City.
As for Miggy, he is definitely in need of a break. While he has been ‘unbelievable‘ this season, he is becoming less and less effective out on the right flank.
He needs a spell out the side after a gruelling period, and that should open the door for Gordon to start. He will provide real speed on the break, which is going to be vital up against Pep Guardiola’s side – especially down their left with Man City seemingly allergic to left-backs right now.
Rotation has been a dirty word on Tyneside in recent months, but it needs to become Howe’s best friend. His side needs freshening up, and that should result in Gordon making his first Newcastle start at the expense of Almiron.