Sports Mole previews Saturday’s friendly between Newcastle United and Rayo Vallecano, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
Newcastle United will conclude their mid-season preparations with a friendly against Rayo Vallecano Saturday at Sant Jaume Park.
The Magpies claimed a comprehensive warm-up win against Al-Hilal last time out, while Los Franjirrojos shared the spoils with Spain’s Real Sociedad in their last game.
A combination of Saudi-backed ownership and management Eddie Howe he has helped transform Newcastle United from a relegation battler to a top-four finisher in the space of 14 months.
Around £200m has been spent on strengthening the first-team squad and the Magpies are now flying high in third place in the Premier League table after 15 games, four points behind fifth-placed Manchester United and seven Arsenal points at the top.
Newcastle, who celebrated their 130th birthday on December 9, head into the World Cup on a rich vein of form, winning eight of their last nine games in all competitions, including each of their last five in the top flight category
Howe and co have since spent a week training in Saudi Arabia and capped their brief spell in the Middle East with an emphatic 5-0 friendly win against Al-Hilal last Thursday. Striker in form Miguel Almiron picked up where he left off by scoring a brace along with Joelintonwhile Dylan Stephenson was also on the scoreboard.
Newcastle will now prepare for their first game at St James’ Park since a 1-0 Premier League win against Chelsea on November 12 when they face Rayo Vallecano, and another win this weekend would put them very well before contacting Howe’s former club. Bournemouth in the fourth round of the EFL Cup next Tuesday.
Like Newcastle, Rayo Vallecano put together a good run of form before the World Cup break, winning four and drawing three of their last seven games in all competitions.
Andoni IraolaThe team, who were promoted to La Liga just two seasons ago, currently sit eighth in the table after 14 games, just two points off the Champions League positions.
Since then, the Reds have experienced a mixed bag of results during the mid-season break, winning, drawing and losing one game each. A 3-1 defeat away to Fenerbahce on November 30 was followed by a narrow 1-0 win over Galatasaray three days later, before Iraola’s men played out a 1-1 draw with Real Sociedad Last weekend.
After Alexander Sorloth headed Real Sociedad in the eighth minute, Randy Nteka he took advantage of a goalkeeping error to slot home from close range to restore Rayo’s parity just before the half-hour mark.
Rayo now have one last friendly against Newcastle, a team they have never faced before, before returning to competitive action with a Copa del Rey second round clash against Atlético Saguntino, of fifth, next Wednesday.
Newcastle United friendly form:
Newcastle United form (all competitions):
Rayo Vallecano friendly form:
Form of Rayo Vallecano (all competitions):
Newcastle World Cup Quintet Bruno Guimaraes, Fabian Schar, Nick Pope, Callum Wilson i Kieran Trippier all are unlikely to appear on Saturday. While the top three have yet to return to training, the bottom two returned to the training complex on Wednesday, but started with only light gym work away from the main group.
Alexander Isak, Paul Dummett i Emil Krafth were also absent from training as they continue to recover from injury, while Chris Wood suffered a minor back problem in the win over Al-Hilal and is a doubt for Saturday.
Like Almiron, Dan Burn, Sean Longstaff i Ryan Fraserwho all started on the bench last time out, will push to start.
As for Rayo Vallecano, Pathe Ciss He returned to first-team training this week after representing Senegal at the World Cup, and the midfielder will be in contention to play at St James’ Park.
experienced forward Radamel Falcao – who had brief spells at both Manchester United and Chelsea earlier in his career – has not featured in any of Rayo’s previous three friendlies but has trained this week and could feature on Saturday, with the new arrival . Raul de Tomas and young Sergio Camello also competing for a place up front.
Newcastle United possible starting line-up:
Karius; Manquillo, Lascelles, Burn, Lewis; Willock, Longstaff, Joelinton; Almiron, Wood, Fraser
Rayo Vallecano possible starting lineup:
López; Mario, Santi, Lejeune, Garcia; Ciss, Valentin; Palazon, Trejo, Martin; From Thomas
We say: Newcastle United 3-1 Rayo Vallecano
Although Newcastle will be without five of their World Cup stars, Howe still has a powerful squad at his disposal and the hosts will be seen as favorites to come out on top this weekend.
With Almiron and Joelinton in fine form, we can see the Magpies round off their mid-season preparations with a win in front of their home fans.
For data analysis of the most likely results, results and more of this match, click here.
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