Today Newcastle United will face Hull City in the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup. Newcastle were handed arguably the easiest draw.
I predict that Newcastle will field a team consisting of Matz Sels in goal; a defense of DeAndre Yedlin, Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark and Paul Dummett; a midfield of Matt Ritchie, Isaac Hayden, Jonjo Shelvey and Yoan Gouffran; with an attack of Mohammed Diame and Dwight Gayle. Jesus Gamez will not feature after he was stretchered off with a collarbone injury in the previous match against Blackburn. Consequently, Yedlin will probably move back over to the right side of defense and Dummett will move to the left back spot. Both Grant Hanley and Jack Colback will be back after recovering from a shin injury and an eye problem respectively.
Hull will be without Will Keane, Abel Hernandez and Ryan Mason who are all struggling with injuries. Sam Clucas will also be missing after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season.
It’s safe to say that Hull haven’t been performing well enough this season. Hull currently sit in 18th place in the Premier League, 2 points above Swansea and 3 points above Sunderland. They have only managed 4 points out of a possible 18 points. The worst moments of their season has to be their embarrassing 3-0 loss to Sunderland and Bournemouth’s 6-1 demolition job of The Tigers. On the other hand, they do deserve credit for impressive victories over Southampton and defending champions Leicester.
Newcastle are the polar opposite of their opponents, winning 5 of their last 6 matches. They have already chalked up a total of 40 points, 2 clear of second place Brighton, in first place. However, the 1-0 loss at the hands of Blackburn cannot be ignored (I’ve already covered this match here) with Benitez’s plan to rest key players backfiring. As a result of this Benitez will play important players, even if it looks like an easy 3 points. However, it is impossible to ignore Newcastle’s dominance in the league, going on a nine-match winning streak is no small feat.
I’ll get straight to the point, I think Newcastle will win. I cannot look past the away side to progress to the semi-finals. Hull’s injury problems haven’t helped them one bit. Consequently, they will have to continue playing the same squad because of injuries and poor squad depth. In conclusion, I believe that Newcastle will win and face one of the 6 other sides in the quarter-finals.
Featured image credit: Brian Hargadon