Benitez boosted by duo’s fitness for Gunners clash
Rafael Benitez has confirmed that Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie will be in the Newcastle squad for Saturday’s visit of Arsenal.
Shelvey has endured a frustrating start to the new season, having missed the last three games with a thigh injury, but he and Ritchie, who has sat out the last two with a knee problem, are in contention to face the Gunners in the Premier League at St James’ Park.
Benitez will also make late decisions on United States international DeAndre Yedlin and Venezuela counterpart Salomon Rondon after they returned to training only on Friday after lengthy midweek trips.
Newcastle have managed only a point from their first four league games and head into the weekend in 18th place in the table after a tough run of fixtures, which has seen them lose by the odd goal to Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City.
However, they beat the Gunners 2-1 on Tyneside in April as they marched to a top-10 finish and their manager is confident better fortunes are just around the corner.
Benitez said: ‘We will have a chance, but you are talking about a team with good players, so the tactics have to be right.
‘Last year we had some games in a row we weren’t winning, but we were close, we were missing a chance and then maybe they would score. Things like that can happen in every game and that is why football is so difficult.
‘In terms of confidence, to know that you can do it is important.’