With only three games remaining in Newcastle’s attempt at avoiding premier League relegation, Rafa Benitez needs to be 200% sure about every decision he takes from now and until the end of this season.
One key area Rafa needs to sort out is his lead striker position and who should start in the remaining matches. At present, he is trusting Papiss Cisse to start the games and Alekasandar Mitrovic to come on as the impact player.
However, having seen the duo play this season it would make more sense if Mitrovic is given the start ahead of his experienced teammate. Cisse has only scored 3 goals this season while the volatile Mitrovic has 9 strikes to his name.
Not only goals, his overall play has an impact on Newcastle and whenever he starts, Magpies look a dangerous team going forward. Mitrovic is stronger in the air and much suited to the crosses and long-balls tactics which often is Newcastle’s biggest weapon.
Stats Comparison: Cisse vs Mitrovic
These numbers are not surprising as Mitrovic has been more of a potent weapon for The Toons this season. Winning aerial duels is key strength to his game while he is never shy to take a pop at the goal either.
He can even take on and dribble his way past defenders. Add to that, his energy and aggression lifts rest of the players around him and pushes them to give their 100% as well. His equalizing goal against Sunderland was the perfect example of what he brings to the club.
That goal and the famous celebration (jumping over the fan) has been the catalyst to Newcastle’s recent rally to push for their survival this season. In recent weeks, they have managed to beat Swansea 3-0 and get two vital draws against Manchester City and Liverpool.
Rafa would hope of a similar performance this weekend from his team when they take on Crystal Palace, who are flying high after booking a place in the FA Cup final. He is expected to tweak his team a little for this game and I am sure starting Mitrovic would be on his minds as he looks for one final push to lead Newcastle United out of the relegation zone.
Image Credit: Getty, Stats Credit: Squawka