Past two Newcastle performances have shown depth of Rafa Benitez's squad

Rafael Benitez, manager of Newcastle United acknowledges the fans during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Sunderland at St James' Park on March 20, 2016 in...

Major investment may not be needed in January as Newcastle's fringe men have started to step up in recent weeks.

Sergio Aguero of Manchester City challenges DeAndre Yedlin of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester City at St. James' Park on December...

Newcastle United made five changes to the team that beat West Ham on Saturday and almost held Manchester City to a draw.

Out went goalscoring heroes Henri Saivet and Christian Atsu, while regular starters Florian Lejeune, Mikel Merino and Isaac Hayden were again absent from the starting line-up.

There will surely be more changes again when Brighton and Hove Albion head to Tyneside this weekend, with Rafa Benitez expected to return to a more adventurous approach.

Sead Kolasinac of Arsenal is challenged by Mikel Merino of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on December 16, 2017 in...

And while there has been criticism over Newcastle's performance against City, a dogged display with a different formation and much-changed set of players proved that there is more depth to this Magpies squad than many might have thought.

Benitez can call on a whole array of options in the centre of both the defence and the midfield, while out wide he is able to switch between two sets of tricky wingers.

Newcastle will need signings in January - and quality ones, too - but wholesale changes are perhaps not needed.

Rafael Benitez, Manager of Newcastle United reacts during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Newcastle United at London Stadium on December 23, 2017 in London, England.

An upgrade in the goalkeeping position would be welcomed, although Rob Elliot has found form, and there is a lack of cover at full back.

The only area in which Newcastle look to be some way below their rivals, though, is in the final third where they require a creator and a goalscorer.

Neither will be cheap, but the past two performances have at least shown Benitez that he can focus his attention on those positions without having too much cause for concern elsewhere.

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