Matt Ritchie and Christian Atsu should be back in contention to feature against Southampton in their next match in the Premier League. Both the players were expected to feature for their respective countries in this international break but had to be withdrawn from their squads at the last moment.
They are facing a race against time to be fully fit ahead of their travel to the South Coast but the lack of action in the break will help them get back to full fitness a bit quicker. Both the players have been pretty important for Rafa Benitez and the gaffer is confident he will have both the players at his disposal next weekend.
Benitez provided an update on their injuries recently. On being asked about Atsu’s condition, the Spanish gaffer replied, “He has a little bit of discomfort in his knee and we have to manage it carefully.”
He also added, “Matt Ritchie has been playing too many games. He was working very hard, he had a little bit of discomfort and a few little things that he was talking with the doctor.”
Newcastle United have found some form after initial hiccups and Benitez has to make sure they use this as a good opportunity to collect points from as many fixtures as they can.
Atsu has started six games and looked very lively on most of the occasions. The Ghanaian international is a very tough nut to crack and his tireless running on the flanks often creates problems for the defenders.
He wasn’t at his best against Liverpool but he has the ability to take the team further forward.
Matt Ritchie is another player who never disappoints. The Scottish international dished out a brilliant performance against the Reds in their 1-1 draw before the break.
He provided some delightful crosses and also helped the fullbacks in the defensive aspects to bring perfect balance to the side. The winger arrived at the St James Park from Bournemouth and since then, has been a constant presence in the starting lineup.
Benitez is eyeing a top ten finish and for that, he needs to rely on this two wingers. He doesn’t have many options available at his disposal and these players deserve their chances following their dedicated displays this season.
Southampton have a very resolute defence and both the wingers will be very crucial in this match. Benitez will be looking forward to this game and will hope that he has an option to call upon both these players this weekend.