Rafa Benitez sweats on key man for Villa as Tottenham wait on FA charge

Vurnon Anita
Vurnon Anita

Newcastle United are sweating on Vurnon Anita ahead of the club’s visit to Villa Park – as Tottenham Hotspur wait to discover Mousa Dembele’s fate.

Anita left the field late in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

And the makeshift right-back is being assessed ahead of Saturday’s must-win game against Aston Villa, the club’s penultimate game of the season.

Relegation-threatened Newcastle end their campaign with a home game against Tottenham, whose midfielder Dembele is expected to be charged by the Football Association for an incident with Diego Costa in an ill-tempered 2-2 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday night.

Dembele is facing a retrospective ban for an apparent eye-gouge on Costa which would rule him out of the club’s May 15 visit to St James’s Park.

The match ended in a touchline fracas, and other players could also be charged.

Tottenham needed to win to keep their hopes of winning the Premier League title alive, and Mauricio Pochettino’s side are now competing with rivals Arsenal for second place.

Anita, meanwhile, has been deputising for Janmaat, who suffered hand and groin injuries in last month’s 3-1 defeat to Southampton.

Janmaat, having recovered from his groin injury, is ready to make a tentative return to training.

But the 26-year-old – who punched a door in frustration at the St Mary’s Stadium – remains doubtful for the club’s final two games.

Janmaat had surgery on his fractured hand last month and will need to wear suitable protection.