Newcastle United face Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea in their next game at St James’ Park.
With on-loan winger Kenedy ineligible to face his parent club, we look at Rafa Benitez’s other options out wide.
Since his arrival, Kenedy has been United’s first choice left winger, while it is unfortunate that he misses out as he will be determined to atone for his forgettable display in the previous match against Cardiff City.
In the final match of last season, Newcastle faced an identical dilemma as Kenedy was again unable to play against Chelsea; this did not have a significant impact however, as the Magpies came out with a convincing 3-0 win over the Blues.
In that match, Benitez opted to start Jacob Murphy on the left-hand side, with the winger having an impact in Dwight Gayle’s opening goal.
Murphy is still raw and at the age of 23 there is no doubt he will improve. The former Norwich man showed glimpses of his talent last season, notably in United’s 1-0 victory at Stoke in January whereby he was a constant threat down the right-hand side, while he also scored in the loss to Manchester City a few weeks later. Murphy can operate on either flank, while he seems the most likely to replace Kenedy.
Another option is Christian Atsu. The Ghanaian featured heavily for United in their Championship-winning campaign in 2016/17 and was also a starter in the opening weeks of last season.
Unfortunately for Atsu, he was hampered by injury and has since found it difficult to break into the United XI; although he did come on for Matt Ritchie in the first game of this season, while Murphy was not selected. Atsu possesses real pace and is a beneficial option for the team.
Matt Ritchie seems to have cemented his position in the line-up and is definitely Newcastle’s most influential winger. Although Ritchie may not be as quick as Murphy or Atsu, his energy grit, determination and quality in the final third makes up for it.
Newcastle possess wealthy options out wide, with the feat that Murphy and Atsu can operate on either flank adding an additional dimension to the attack.
Written by Dawud Arshad
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