Defense Unchanged – Gouffran Up Front – Mitro Dropped – Atsu Starts


Rafa Benitez has named his team for the vitally important game between the top two teams in the Championship tonight with Newcastle United at Brighton & Hove Albion.

The defense is unchanged but Rafa has Gouffran up front in place of Mitrovic and Ritchie and Atsu are on the wings.


We had mentioned in passing that Gouffran might play up front, but this has to be a shock and it doesn’t look good for the current form of Mitro or Murphy – although maybe Gouffran has looked very good in training.

Let’s hope the defense can get their act together and put in one of those strong performances we know they can produce.

That looks like tow changes from Saturday with Gouffran and Diame coming in as the lone striker and the number 10 respectively.

This is what Rafa has said about the game between the Championship’s best two teams tonight:

“Our away record means that we can go and play against anyone trying to win. In football, you never know, but we will try to win.”

“It is important to have the belief that we can do it – because we have done it during the whole season.”

“We know that we made some mistakes against Bristol City, but because the reaction was so good, you have to think about the positives.”

“We have to try and play in the same way that we did in the second half – with the same determination, with the same attacking football, trying to create chances.”

“The players know that every game is important, and we still have a lot of games to play. They have all the information, but they all react in one way or another way.”

“My job is to keep sending the right message. We have to keep doing things in the same way – training well, sticking together, helping each other.”

“You could see the reaction of our fans on Saturday, and it is the same situation now – going away with our fans behind the team.”

“We are really pleased with that, and the best way to say ‘thank you’ is to give everything on the pitch and try to win.”

Slightly more fans think we will lose tonight than win – it could be very close.

How Will Newcastle Fare At Brighton?

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Howay The Lads!!



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423 comments so far

  • catchy in norway

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:46 PM

    Comment #1

    if we were playing a bottom team i’d be more worried, i think the fact it’s Brighton helps us. still going to be a tough game though 1 goal will decide it.

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  • cyprus

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:47 PM

    Comment #2

    cyprus
    February 28, 2017
    I predicted play offs, and winning them.

    But that’s like Lotto. We need automatic promotion…

    Reply

    cyprus
    February 28, 2017
    Rafa my man
    Now Ed will be mad at you. He insists you only look till the next game but all that analysis shows you are looking till like April.

    Anyway, agreed. Surely 90 points will do. Surely. That’s like 6 wins and a couple draws.

    We done well. Better than I expected. Hold on. Give me a performance and Don’t lose tonight. Or, if you do, same vs. Huddersfield.

    PS. Chris is always kind to us, weak spot, like Andy. If they’re thrashing us, he’ll machinate a draw.

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  • catchy in norway

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:48 PM

    Comment #3

    strange line up, but i can see that he has gone with pace and mobility

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  • JamesToon

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:48 PM

    Comment #4

    Like having atsu and ritchie on the wings, not sure about gouff up front, murphy would have been better imo, but the thinking is that gouf will run the channels more

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  • cyprus

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:48 PM

    Comment #5

    Rafa
    That set up says,

    Please Chris, let us draw, please.

    Come on man. You got CFs, FFS.

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  • catchy in norway

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:49 PM

    Comment #6
  • archaeomag

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:49 PM

    Comment #7

    Goof up front
    Diame in behind

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  • Dennis Twice

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:50 PM

    Comment #8

    Attack Toon attack, attack!

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  • AncientC

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:51 PM

    Comment #9

    Brighton: Stockdale; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Pocognoli; Knockaert, Stephens, Sidwell, Murphy; Baldock, Murray

    0
  • HoboToon

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:52 PM

    Comment #10

    catchy im pretty sure the game is televised

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  • JackBall

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:52 PM

    Comment #11

    I would have liked to see Gouf in the Diame roll and a true striker, but Gouf did score last time he was there.

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  • lukes26

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:53 PM

    Comment #12

    its interesting how all newcastle managers seem to really like Gouffran, he does seem an intelligent player

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  • Our Toon

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:53 PM

    Comment #13

    I was right that no recognised striker will be played. Surprised with that, feel for Murphy who can’t seem to get a look in, mitro dropped yet the mistake ridden back 5 spared once again.

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  • Spotlight Kid

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:55 PM

    Comment #14

    DT@8 ‘Attack Toon attack, attack!’

    Err, that’s exactly what Reading did, and Brighton hit them hard on the counter – three times. Not a clever plan…

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  • catchy in norway

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:55 PM

    Comment #15

    Hobo

    it is, but it’s good to listen to it before kick off.

    it’s even on Viasat here in norway ??

    yippee

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  • catchy in norway

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:56 PM

    Comment #16

    I think it’s atsu vs knockheart tonight

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  • toontaff2

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:57 PM

    Comment #17

    Second thinking RAFA the Gaffa is tough!
    10/11 again-bugger!
    Went for Murphy, not Colback, otherwise got Diame, Atsu, Gouff.
    Same Saturday. 10/11 got Atsu but went Gouff for Ritchie.
    Mind that’s why I’m sitting on the couch watching the match with a few beers and RAF’s at Brighton, in the deep end!

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  • Bobbybee

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:58 PM

    Comment #18

    Five or six points from the next three games will do me. Anything more is a bonus and anything less isn’t a disaster. Still a long way to go before anything is decided. If we win tonight I can see Brighton crumbling again, with de ja vue kicking in. Nothing will be decided until May imo, we just need to keep winning. Cutting out silly mistakes won’t do any harm either.

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  • JackBall

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:58 PM

    Comment #19

    Have not been this anxious to watch a game in a bit, could someone wind the clock forward 50 minutes.

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  • toontaff2

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:59 PM

    Comment #20

    For Dennis Toon, it’s always attack, Toon, attack, attack!

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  • lukes26

    Feb 28, 2017 at 6:59 PM

    Comment #21

    Ritchie as a No 10 would be an interesting experiment

    Hopefully we dont go behind, our bench lacks any catalyst

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  • toontaff2

    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:00 PM

    Comment #22

    Bobby, which position does that French lad, De Ja Vue play – maybe a Graeme Carr target?

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  • Greebol1892

    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:01 PM

    Comment #23

    Yes Gouffran! He’s a striker didn’t you know?! Proved he can score when up front. Good in the air, both feet, and a good hit on him.
    Got p***ewed played as a DM when should have been up front while in his prime.
    Brighton are a cracking team but so are we away from home.

    HWTL!

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  • Cool Hand Luke

    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:02 PM

    Comment #24

    I’m liking the look of this, Gouf up front and an out and out winger on the left to balance Ritchie out. Good stuff.

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  • Bobbybee

    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:04 PM

    Comment #25

    Toontaff, he’s a defender renowned for tripping people up!

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  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:06 PM

    Comment #26

    10/11 Thought he’d play Mitrovic with the Gouf in the middle behind him.

    Thought my electric was going to be off tonight as we had the fuse box malfunction. Been fixed just in time for the game thankfully.

    Seems funny to be starting as underdogs. 🙂

    HWTL HWTF HWTR HWBRS

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  • toontaff2

    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:10 PM

    Comment #27

    Come on Taffy Dummett and soon to be Dai Darlow!

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  • Belfast

    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:12 PM

    Comment #28

    Spotlight Kid
    February 28, 2017
    DT@8 ‘Attack Toon attack, attack!’

    Err, that’s exactly what Reading did, and Brighton hit them hard on the counter – three times. Not a clever plan…

    Reply

    Counter attack toon counter attack !

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  • Bobbybee

    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:14 PM

    Comment #29

    To be honest I think he’s picked a very attacking line up. Nothing going for a draw about that line up at all. I can see this being a cracking game. Really looking forward to it.

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  • JackBall

    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:14 PM

    Comment #30

    With a sprinkle of attack

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  • Moonraker15

    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:15 PM

    Comment #31

    I can’t believe bloggers appear to think we will get beat! FFS we are the best team in the division with a great away record! Cmoooonnnn!

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  • manxpie

    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:15 PM

    Comment #32

    arent their center backs giants i hope they’ve been told to not hoof it then as gouff won’t get a sniff in the air

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  • toontaff2

    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:16 PM

    Comment #33

    Hoof to the Goof!

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  • toontaff2

    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:17 PM

    Comment #34

    Someone said earlier Gouffy had a good scoring record v Brighton.

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  • Bobbybee

    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:21 PM

    Comment #35

    I assume that’s why he’s gone for The Gouff and not Mitro. They’d out jump him all night so we play on the floor. Pity we let Arma go out again, with Gayle out he’d be the ideal replacement. Still, got to make do with what we’ve got and I can see the sense in playing The Gouff up front ahead of bigger players.

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  • JackBall

    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:22 PM

    Comment #36

    I think that was about Murphy

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  • toon kk

    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:22 PM

    Comment #37

    Pleased Mitro has been benched, just hope our back four stay focused and cut out there stupid mistakes.
    Its Going to be a tough game.
    Here’s hoping!!!

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  • toontaff2

    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:24 PM

    Comment #38

    Yes, it was Murphy, not Gouffy!

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  • Munster Mag

    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:25 PM

    Comment #39

    Interesting team. I think Rafa has gone for attack, but in counter attack. As usual doesn’t want to lose, but it looking to defend well from Gouffy backwards, and hit on break with Atsu. Certainly doesn’t seem a defensive team. Could easily have put gouffy on wing and Murphy up front. Does beg the question why we bought Murphy though and loaned out Arma. Come on lads, a win will really hurt!

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  • Bobbybee

    Feb 28, 2017 at 7:29 PM

    Comment #40

    Moonraker, I’m with you on this one. Then again, I always put us to win because I believe we can. Beat these and put the jitters up Huddersfield and Reading.
    Anyway, no more posting for me. 100% football. Howay the lads!!!!!! Take our rightful place back at the top.

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