Will Rafa Benitez change goalkeeper for the Huddersfield game?

Martin Dubravka has been outstanding for Newcastle United between the posts in the last 12 months – but as the Magpies enter the crucial run-in stage two uncharacteristic errors have resulted in some fans posing the question on whether the Slovakia No 1 is in need of a rest.

Rafa Benitez’s post-match Press conference was intriguing at Wolves, and while he stated Dubravka should have done better with the Adama Traoré’s cross in the last seconds of stoppage time, he stopped short of suggesting his regular goalkeeper would be dropped for the next game.

Although it must have entered Benitez’s head with two crunch home games with Huddersfield Town and Burnley to come next.

 

What happens now?

Newcastle arrived in Spain this morning and will be on the training field for a late afternoon session.

Dubravka and his team-mates have had plenty of time to dwell on the last-minute error on a red-eye flight to Alicante straight after the 1-1 draw with Wolves.

There’s every chance Benitez will take a look at his other two goalkeepers Freddie Woodman and Karl Darlow in the friendly against CSKA Moscow on Saturday with both in need of game-time.



Willy Boly of Wolverhampton Wanderers outjumps goalkeeper Martin Dubravka
Willy Boly of Wolverhampton Wanderers outjumps goalkeeper Martin Dubravka

What has been the reaction of Dubravka’s team-mates?

Newcastle players looked dejected after Willy Boly’s scrambled header in stoppage time with Matt Ritchie on his knees at the end of the game.

He was consoled by the back-room staff while Fabian Schar looked at the floor.

Skipper Jamaal Lascelles had words with Dubravka with the instant verdict seemingly that the goalkeeper was at fault.

When asked after the game if there had been any issues in the dressing room, Benitez said: “No. The disappointment is there for everyone.

 

“We care. Martin was talking about more protection and Jamaal maybe saying Martin could deal with the cross in another way. It doesn’t change anything.”

Meanwhile, Isaac Hayden added: “He is a top-class goalkeeper; we win as a team, lose as a team and draw as a team, so there will be no blame at his door.

“We all have to take responsibility.

“Everyone has made mistakes throughout the season but we just have to stick together and get as many points as we can.”



Fabian Schar, Martin Dubravka and Jamaal Lascelles
Fabian Schar, Martin Dubravka and Jamaal Lascelles

Change goalkeeper against Huddersfield? Rafa Benitez hasn’t been afraid to do it before

Benitez will always make changes if he sees fit when it comes to selection.

That was the case when Matz Sels was dropped in the Championship season after a late howler in the 1-1 draw against Aston Villa.

Benitez then turned to Darlow who played for most of the season.

 

But after a bad game for Darlow at Ipswich Town, a 3-1 defeat, Benitez brought in Rob Elliot for the final three games of the season to help win the title.

Elliot looked focused and gave the team a boost back then.

Last season in the Premier League, Benitez used Elliot, Darlow and then snapped up Dubravka from Sparta Prague.



Goalkeeper Karl Darlow
Goalkeeper Karl Darlow

What are the options for Benitez should he decide to switch things?

Dubravka has made three errors since the turn of the year against Man United, Spurs and now Wolves.

But should Rafa stick or twist?

Elliot is out for the season with a back injury but Darlow is fit again and Woodman has been in the side as No 2 on merit.

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Who should start in goal for Newcastle against Huddersfield?



Whether Benitez puts the youngster in against Huddersfield remains to be seen.

Darlow fits the bill in terms of experience and will be hungry to show what he can do but Benitez at least has thinking time between now and the clash with the Terriers.