Is This Newcastle’s Strongest Side For West Ham?


I’ll be at the hospital for most of the day so will not be around when Rafa holds his press conference later today.

So we’ll put out the team we think Rafa could start tomorrow against West Ham.

We’ll make the assumption that new signing Florian Lejeune is fit again after picking up that ankle injury in the first half of our first game at home to Tottenham.

It’s a crucial game for Newcastle and Rafa Benitez tomorrow.

And we suppose a positive is the first team players were rested on Wednesday night.

We lost 3-2 to Nottingham Forest in the League Cup, and the manager made 10 changes from the side that had lost 1-0 at Huddersfield.

Rafa Benitez and Newcastle need a win tomorrow

However, if we had won on Wednesday night, we would have been drawn away to Chelsea.

Here’s the side we think Rafa could start tomorrow:

Elliot
Manquillo Lejeune Lascelles (c) Clark
Merino Hayden
Ritchie Perez Aarons
Joselu

We have Lejeune starting the game with Ciaran Clark at left back, and yes, it’s a bit hard on Chancel Mbemba who played very well at Huddersfield in the left back position.

Chancel could keep his place, and Rafa could start Lejeune on the bench with Lascelles and Clark in central defense.

We have Rolando Aarons starting, but with his cramp problems on Wednesday, he could start on the bench as a precaution with Atsu keeping his place in the starting eleven.

We’d like to see Joselu given a start up front since he has a lot more physical presence than Dwight Gayle.

What would your team be for tomorrow’s crucial game?

I screwed up the poll earlier today – so please vote again.

How Will Newcastle Fare Against West Ham?

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122 comments so far

  • G

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:17 AM

    Comment #1

    I don’t think Rafa will play Clark at LB, however, other than that I would say that side is just about what I expect Rafa to put out. Somebody suggested trying Aarons as the number 10 the other day. At the time I thought ‘madman’, but I must confess, I have given it some thought and I am warming to the idea.

    5
  • wartongeordie

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:20 AM

    Comment #2

    Just a thought, does anyone else agree that given the fact Mitro scored our first goal of the season and scores goals for fun for his country, that maybe it was lack of service and long ball tactics that has made him look poor, personally with the wingers and pace we have now in the team, i think we can give him a chance to shine.

    12
  • ShirebrookToon

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:20 AM

    Comment #3

    Perez in the hole is a no no for me. Too lightweight, gets bullied off the ball far to easily and tries one too many flicks and trick when it’s not needed.

    I’d play Ritchie in the hole and put Murphy on the right. The. Start with Joselu or Mitro up top.

    10
  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:23 AM

    Comment #4

    Can see Mbemba at left back and Clark at centre half to deal with Carroll in the air thought we looked quite balanced when Clark moved to Left back against Spurs as he is comfortable on the ball

    Unless we are going to get a real shock and Lazaar or Gamez play left back ?!?

    0
  • robertsleftfoot

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:23 AM

    Comment #5

    This is harsh as we are only a couple of games in but you cant play Perez and Gayle in front of him. The ball never sticks which constantly has us chasing the ball.

    If Rafa insists on playing Perez he needs to put either Joselu or Mitro up top. The other alternative would be to have a liverpool style. Just go all out speed and Play Atsu Gayle Aarons/Murphy

    1
  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:23 AM

    Comment #6

    Newcastle United reminds me of Lord Snooty sitting in his Stately home worth millions whinging on that he has no money so has to sell the family silver.

    We the TOON sold our family silver last year ie: Sissoko, Winjanum, Janmaat etc., bought a few players in to get back up to the big time.

    We get there but the price of bread has gone up and we cannot afford a loaf – trouble is we do not have any family silver left to sell – just a few dodgy bits of tat = and OH Mitrovic – we sell him might get our money back on him to spend on two our three bits of TAT and hope for the best.

    If Mitrovic goes then you can stick the season ticket because at the moment he is our only hope in scoring goals and leading the line because the rest are as weak as dishwater couldn’t kick their way out of a wet paper bag.

    PATHETIC !!!!!!

    7
  • Krul To Be Kind

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:24 AM

    Comment #7

    Ed – good luck at the hospital today buddy…

    G – I didn’t see the whole game on wed night but got the impression he was interchanging from wing to centre but would need someone that aren’t he game to confirm if this was the case. There’s a bit more twisting and turning in a central position so I would worry whether or not his hinges could cope with that!!!

    He has got the ability to take a player on, lightning quick and likes to pop shots off so it could work… If we don’t get a dedicated 10 (not a can play there if required) before the window shuts I fear our play won’t be so fluid in the coming season.

    0
  • Klatoon

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:24 AM

    Comment #8

    Yedlin Lejeune Clark Manquillo
    Ritchie Hayden Merino Atsu
    Joselu Ayoze

    Rafa seems to like Ayoze, dont see why but hey, maybe with a more technical striker alongside him, it could be the spark to get him going.

    1
  • nut meg

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:28 AM

    Comment #9

    Good luck at the hospital Ed, hope all goes well for you…chin up.

    8
  • Krul To Be Kind

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:29 AM

    Comment #10

    Charlie

    I got laughed at yesterday and told I know nothing about football for suggesting Mitro is a better fit than Gayle by NUFC-83.

    I stated that if Mitro played facing the goal around the box rather than his back to goal and linking play he would have got as many if not more than Gayle in the fizzy pop… Would you think that ridiculous?

    2
  • Krul To Be Kind

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:30 AM

    Comment #11

    Charlie

    I ask you this as an avid attender with a good grasp of the game from the stands!

    0
  • ShirebrookToon

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:32 AM

    Comment #12

    Charlie

    Mitro ain’t going anywhere. Be fcuking stupid to offload him!

    2
  • Krul To Be Kind

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:34 AM

    Comment #13

    West Bromwich signed Burke from Liepzig this morning

    1
  • Krul To Be Kind

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:35 AM

    Comment #14

    Let’s hope so shire… I’m surprised by how many on here don’t rate him… Hasn’t had a fair crack of the whip since Rafa came imo.

    3
  • chanedw

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:39 AM

    Comment #15

    Ed, good luck with things at the hospital, stay strong!

    3
  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:46 AM

    Comment #16

    Mitrovic is a strange one hes actually scored a few crucial goals for Benitez and looked good in some games !On the other hand he has also looked woeful , has been sent off and done nothing in other games but then so has Gayle/Perez and Cisse when he was being played up front by Rafa!

    Must admit the best I have seen us play under Rafa was with Mitrovic up front with Perez next to him against Leeds we hit the ball up to him quick and got runners around him it was only poor finishing why they didn’t get skelped 3 or 4 nil!

    The problem with Gayle is if he isn’t getting into the game and is being bullied then we have nothing up front at least Mitrovic can win a header or hold the ball up which can allow us to get a foothold its amazing why they haven’t been tried up front more they were actually immense together against Norwich that one time it was allowed !!

    1
  • RUNAWAY777

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #17

    I give up if freze gets another start and rafa leaves mitro out agaian we need to have 2 up front trom the start or i see use getting beat for a fourth time maybe after work I’ll call in a church and ask for gods help.

    2
  • wartongeordie

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #18

    Krul

    Agree, pumping long balls to Mitro with his back to goal then getting elbowed and clattered by big defenders over and over again.
    Just give him a chance then judge him.
    Dare I suggest 4-4-2 !!!!

    1
  • RUNAWAY777

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:49 AM

    Comment #19

    Ment Perez this f@cking phone

    0
  • optimistic prime

    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:54 AM

    Comment #20

    I had a little look on newsnow this morning to check for transfers in/out as was a little shocked to see Ian Wright had stepped up and accused Ashley of lying to the fans again in his recent interview.

    Imagine my surprise when I’ve just read Mark Lawrenson saying Ashley has thrown a red herring in Rafa and the fans face regarding finances and our ability to compete.

    Not a fan of either of them but I appreciate the fact they’re not jumping on the Rafa and the fans are unrealistic band wagon. Maybe their comments make shake a few journalists and pundits awake to smell the roses.

    2
  • msk21dec

    Aug 25, 2017 at 10:15 AM

    Comment #21

    yo benitez i just heard arda turan might be available on a free transfer

    2
  • posada

    Aug 25, 2017 at 10:15 AM

    Comment #22

    Just a follow on from some of the above.
    We thrashed QPR 0-6. I think with Mitro and Perez playing.
    I thought great this is the way forward.
    I think Rafa thought that was not my plan I’ll soon put a stop to it.
    1-3 down against Norwich we gave up on plans and attacked. The rest is history.
    Don’t think Rafa liked that either, cos it wasnt his plan A or his plan B.
    Is he a control freak who can’t let players actually play.

    0
  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Aug 25, 2017 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #23

    Krul
    In the Premiership Mitrovic would be the first name on my teamsheet.
    Mitro can be annoying and petulent just like shelvey and Ritchie – BUT

    As he is the only player we have with physical strength up front…

    …for the Hoooooooofball we play
    …one up front we play
    …for the wingers we have Atsu and Aarons to get the crosses in he is the only player with physical attributes and height to get to the ball and head it – no one else can do that at the moment
    …holds the ball up and brings others into play – no one else can do that at the moment.
    …he is the only player we have that excites the crowd and gets them on their feet.

    AND
    …in defence is a good defender at set pieces and corners – cleared two on Wed night with powerful headers out of the six yard box

    And in the time we have left and the transfer money we have there is NO CHANCE we will get anyone better in than Mitrovich

    If RAFA swallowed his pride and played with two wingers Atsu and Aarons with Mitrovich as the lone striker he persists in then we might get something from games.
    Rather see two up front tho.

    But one up front Gayle with Perez sitting behind we will get absolutely nothing out of this season – as they cannot get hold of the ball to bring other players into the game – so ball gcomes straight back to the defence or the keeper and everyone knows what comes next — HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOF!!!!!

    2
  • G

    Aug 25, 2017 at 10:20 AM

    Comment #24

    msk21dec, I noticed the Turan story this morning. Then saw he was on 4.5M a year at Barca, so thought it was unlikely we would be able to offer anything like he would want. Good player mind.

    0
  • lochinvar

    Aug 25, 2017 at 10:28 AM

    Comment #25

    Bingo call
    Think he’s more likely to use Aarons as a sub to open up their defence late on bearing in mind he cramped up on Wednesday.
    Clark on bench if Lejeune is fully fit – otherwise swop those two
    Mitro may have earned his place and Joselu is yet to be fully up to speed so impact sub again for now. Mitro needed to keep their back four busy and to keep up pressure up front.

    Elliot
    Manquillo Lejeune Lascelles Mwemba
    Merino Hayden
    Ritchie Perez
    Mitro

    0
  • lochinvar

    Aug 25, 2017 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #26

    Starting eleven not ten

    Elliot
    Manquillo Lejeune Lascelles Mwemba
    Merino Hayden
    Ritchie Perez Atsu
    Mitro

    0
  • ShirebrookToon

    Aug 25, 2017 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #27

    Loch
    Not a bad shout that line up mate. Only I would have Clark alongside Lejeune instead of Lascelles and maybe have Atsu instead of Perez. But I think Perez and Mitro play better together. They seem to have a good understanding of each other. Just don’t play him in the hole ffs!!

    0
  • Slank

    Aug 25, 2017 at 10:34 AM

    Comment #28

    I’m not sure Lejeune has recovered sufficiently enough to play.

    Given Mitro’s goal and his all round play on Wednesday it would be a huge mistake by Benitez to drop him and quite a physiological blow to Mitro himself and doesn’t say much to the other players.

    We know Benitez favours Perez but could Saivet be a surprise choice ?

    Aarons deserves to play based on all his performances todate even though a bit harsh on Atsu.

    Ritchie is a must. One wonders when young Murphy is going to get a game.

    Elliot
    Manquillo Lascelles (c) Clark Mbemba
    Merino Hayden
    Ritchie Saivet Aarons
    Mitro

    0
  • posada

    Aug 25, 2017 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #29

    Charlie
    That has some merit. But, to do it he would have to drop Gayle and Ritchie.
    Two players he paid 10 and 12 million for.
    Not going to happen.
    All an ego thing.
    He has his favourites.
    It’s all about me me me.

    0
  • ToonGoodToBeTrue

    Aug 25, 2017 at 10:40 AM

    Comment #30

    I feel at home we should replace one of the two holding midfielder players. Use the extra player up top so it’s a 4-1-3-2 formation. Gayle and Mitro should be the front two. I seen the average position’s of our players at half time against Huddersfield and Gayle was coming deeper behind Perez to win the ball on the half way line now that will never work. Gayle is supposed to be the tip of the team to press and stay on the last man for through balls. Perez should be dropping in and hounding everything down in the centre circle, turning and threading it through to Gayle or one of the wingers not the other way around. I do believe Rafa will turn this around however, I’m just a fan and even I can see that Gayle and Perez aren’t working this season so far.

    0
  • Jib

    Aug 25, 2017 at 10:44 AM

    Comment #31

    Sorry to urinate on folks fried potatoes
    But it seems like a tug of war between Cagliari and Hellas Verona for Mitro.

    1
  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Aug 25, 2017 at 10:46 AM

    Comment #32

    Krul
    Your arguments with NUFC-83

    Here i sthe scoring records of both players in the Premiership

    15 goals in 66 apps gayle = 1 goal per 4.4 games
    9 goals in 34 apps mitrovich = 1 goal per 3.7 games

    interest stats ??

    Posada

    My team
    Elliot
    Manquillo, Lejuene if not fit Lascalles, Clark, Mbemba
    Merino, Ritchie, Hayden
    Aarons, Mitro, Atsu

    A fluid 4-3-3

    0
  • Slank

    Aug 25, 2017 at 10:55 AM

    Comment #33

    Charlie

    Very interesting stats albeit very misleading as the number of games played are not the same as Gayle was picked ahead of Mitrovich.

    The problem with statistics is that they can generally be interpreted in different ways.

    I always remember my old college tutor saying that if a quarter of all road deaths were caused by drunk drivers and 75% by sober drivers would it therefore be safer if all drivers were drunk !

    2
  • Jib

    Aug 25, 2017 at 11:07 AM

    Comment #34

    Slank
    Your point is well made
    Put another way
    In the Championship
    Mitro scored 4 in 25 – every 6.25 games
    Gayle scored 23 in 32 – every 1.39 games

    “Statistics and damned lies” comes to mind

    1
  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Aug 25, 2017 at 11:08 AM

    Comment #35

    Jib
    War between Cagliari and Hellas Verona for Mitro.
    That will mean Mitro won’t be playing tomorrow or even on the bench.

    reminds me of the Andy Carroll situation – sell on the last day – to late to get anyone in.
    ARGHHHHHHH

    3
  • skiptoon

    Aug 25, 2017 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #36

    Ed – good luck today at the hospital

    1
  • Krul To Be Kind

    Aug 25, 2017 at 11:24 AM

    Comment #37

    Wartoon – yes m8 he just needs a chance

    Charlie – great insight, my sentiments exactly at 23, I don’t get to many games living abroad so it’s good to get the views of someone who understands the game and its many intricacies! Thanks for that… It’s what I wanted to hear! 🙂

    0
  • Krul To Be Kind

    Aug 25, 2017 at 11:29 AM

    Comment #38

    Jib

    There was a huge disparity in starts to make real comparisons with Gayle and Mitro in the championship.

    When Gayle was playing he scored… When Mitro played we scored more collectively.

    Championship defenders are thugs and couldn’t catch Gayle and but could go toe to toe with big Mitro, the premiership has quicker and smarter centre halfs but less physical as a rule of thumb, this would suit Mitro more do you not think?

    0
  • Macas

    Aug 25, 2017 at 11:33 AM

    Comment #39

    Kacper / Ed – Could we get 50 comments per page instead of 40? Would save having to change page so much on articles where there are lots of comments

    1
  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Aug 25, 2017 at 11:36 AM

    Comment #40

    Posada @22
    I have the same feelings as you QPR and Norwich game at the end – got the crowd going then we go back to one up front – sorry boring awful football and it is mirrored by the crowds enthusiam noise – sorry lack of it at home games.

    0

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