Rafa Could Start New Partnership Against Liverpool – These Changes Possible


We would expect Rafa to make a few changes to the side that lost 1-0 at Brighton yesterday.

The player most likely to come into the team is Jonjo Shelvey, and we need his creativity against his former club.

Isaac Hayden has been playing quite well, but Rafa may want to start Mikel Merino and Jonjo in central midfield.

It’s something he will be looking at in training this coming week.

Jonjo Shelvey after the game yesterday

This is what Rafa said after the match yesterday when asked about a possible Merino – Shelvey partnership:

“They did well when they were playing together, but it depends on the game. “It depends on the moment during the games.”

“Yesterday was a time when we needed to change something, and it was good for us.”

“But it is a pity that with so much possession at the end, we have to create more chances and better chances and control things better.”

Rafa could keep Hayden and Merino in midfield and put Jonjo in the number 10 position in place of Perez – or even have Mikel Merino in the number 10 position.

Mikel is so talented he can put the ball into the back of the net, and he almost scored a great goal yesterday from outside the box very early in the game.

Joselu again missed chances yesterday, and with Aleksandar Mitrovic fit again we could see him even start the game.

But if he does play he will have to behave himself – we cannot afford to go down to 10 men against a side like Liverpool.

Same goes for Jonjo Shelvey.

And we could see Florian Lejeune pushing hard for a place at center-back, and in preseason, he looked to be Rafa’s first choice until he was injured against Spurs.

It wouldn’t surprise us too much if Rafa brings him back and rests either Lascelles or Clark against The Reds – maybe Clark moves to left-back?

Yesterday was only the 12th time Rafa has kept the same side in a Premier League game in his career  – it’s doubtful to be the 13th time next Sunday.

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107 comments so far

  • catchy in norway

    Sep 25, 2017 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #1

    Liverpool have a shocking defence. we need to pressing them all the time.
    but don’t fancy facing sala or coutinio.

    1
  • DjMickyg

    Sep 25, 2017 at 10:21 AM

    Comment #2

    Liverpool is a again where we are goin to need to keep it tight or else they will destroy us with pace. I think we will act like the way team and try catch them out from a set piece which is there weakness.

    2
  • Tenbytoon

    Sep 25, 2017 at 10:22 AM

    Comment #3

    I’d start with Gayle as Liverpool like to play the high line and his pace could cause their cb’s problems, with shelvey the deeper midfielder with mbemba as the defensive midfielder and merino in the number 10, shelvey can feed Gayle in the channels from deep and merino from short. And as mbemba is more defensively astute than hayden but equally good with his feet that’s my reason for picking him in midfield with gamez at lb

    3
  • toontaff2

    Sep 25, 2017 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #4

    Scanned the comments – Jesus, there really are some fruitcakes on during the match!
    Lesh, if you want to join in Jester’s latest arguments, at least have the courtesy to read the other comments he has made. Not sure what your ‘superfan’ comment entails? Best you stick to politics? Toontaff2 is a username, like Lesh.
    Jester asked us to debate his ‘family man’ status – noted he spent most of the day on here, but couldn’t watch the match – priorities, eh? Noted, he keeps ‘calling me out’ for further’ debate’ then whines like a baby when I respond. Jester appears to be getting his little lemon crew on my case. Pretty sad, like. BTW, Jester, whilst you were ‘calling me out’, I was doing my family things, prior to watching the Toon, live.

    3
  • jimmygscot

    Sep 25, 2017 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #5

    There is no way Shelvey can be left out. Shelvey and Merino ouze quality.
    On Sundays peformance Atsu is hardly worth his place, lets face it he couldn’t hold down a place in the Championship last season, but what are the options, very limited if Rafa continues with 4 2 3 1.
    newcastle have played 3 of the teams who will be in a relegation battle, Huddersfield, Swansea and Brighton and have only gained points in one of those games.
    Yes i agree 9 points from 6 games is ok, but in a fortnights time it will be 9 points from 8.

    0
  • Ibizatoon

    Sep 25, 2017 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #6

    Taff…The “superfan” comment comes from history on the blog, where certain fans start saying other, lesser fans, opinions don’t count.

    You may note, if you read Jespers comments since the game, that he’s been asking about the game, based on things he’s read, not stating opinions. Still, best not let that get in the way.

    2
  • Lindisfarne

    Sep 25, 2017 at 10:34 AM

    Comment #7

    Hoselu lu lu, push past the post or hits a tree
    Hoselu lu lu, push past the post, so sloppy.
    To the the left to the right, jump up & down and to the knees.
    Comes a chance, every match, that ends up in row E.

    2
  • toontaff2

    Sep 25, 2017 at 10:41 AM

    Comment #8

    Ibiza, Lesh seems to suggest I need ‘professional help’????
    Would say all these stalking allegations, bizarre multiple ID’s conspiracies and this fascination with what went on here many moons ago, along with crazed comments like ‘are you a wife beater’ suggest which posters need the help.
    Lesh is one of those who constantly spout politics, of the Jeremy Corbyn variety – called everyone who did not have his views all sorts and didn’t appreciate I had opposing views, so is just sniping.

    3
  • sing in the corner

    Sep 25, 2017 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #9

    Morning fellas
    Yeah, disappointed with the result, no doubt.
    I got in from work 5.30pm yesterday, having avoided all media, sat down to watch the game as-live, and in comes me young un with a face like tripe, thereby giving the game away!

    3
  • Lindisfarne

    Sep 25, 2017 at 10:44 AM

    Comment #10

    I don’t think either side were any better overall than than the other, but they took one of their chances and although we created more, we didn’t. I thought it indicated a lack of creativity in the front four which was slightly compensated for when Shelvey came on.

    The fact that a central defender has won the previous two matches would indicate that the team as a whole is set up not to lose and that will not work in every match. However Rafa will not change the tactics even if we added a few more quality players. Hopefully though, we will win more than lose.

    1
  • toontaff2

    Sep 25, 2017 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #11

    And, Ibiza, Jester did actually ask us to debate his ‘family man’ status, as to why he could not watch us, but, as I asked, how could he spend so many hours on here, but not watch the game – some wives may wonder what he is doing on his phone, constantly? Seems he is unable to debate, without resorting to abuse and trying to get his little crew together, to join in. I stand by what I have said. If Jester wants to continue his name calling and wants to highlight my ‘crap’ comments, so be it.

    1
  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Sep 25, 2017 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #12

    Toontaff(2)…I think you are getting people on your back because of one person…and that is you!

    …behave and stop acting like a WUM!

    2
  • hibbit

    Sep 25, 2017 at 10:48 AM

    Comment #13

    Lindisfarne
    give the kid a break he plays for us in case you hadn’t noticed !!

    don’t give up your day job it’s crap anyway

    2
  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Sep 25, 2017 at 10:48 AM

    Comment #14

    Ibiza…just leave him be! He’s making an arse of himself as it is…

    …did you enjoy the game last night? I got a link from Ron with the highlights

    1
  • Ibizatoon

    Sep 25, 2017 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #15

    Ah, you’re both here. Why don’t you attempt to sort it out without any name calling?

    Taff…He said he had family commitments and has 3 young children. Perhaps life doesn’t fit into a 5pm kick off on a Sunday for him.

    Also, from memory, I don’t think Lesh singled you out, but those who were on Jespers case.

    You still call the multiple ID thing “Bizarre conspiracies”. They very much happened. Check with Ed if you must, say you don’t care if it does happen, but to continually go on as if it doesn’t happen is bizarre to me.

    Anyway, going to get on with some work. Happy blogging.

    1
  • Ibizatoon

    Sep 25, 2017 at 10:52 AM

    Comment #16

    Jesper…The game was fine. Disappointing result. I didn’t think we were as bad as some made out, but do agree that Brighton probably deserved the win. Yes, we mounted a large attack at the end, but that’s probably expected given we were chasing the game, so not sure highlighting the stats is the answer for it being an even game.

    Wasn’t much in it though.

    I am off. Take it easy.

    1
  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Sep 25, 2017 at 10:53 AM

    Comment #17

    Lindis…I hope Rafa will show a little more flexibility when or if we keep getting points on the scoreboard…

    …I agree he has us currently setup to get a draw at least and then try to nick a goal on the counter…

    It’s seems that might have been one of the problems yesterday. I only saw the stats and the highlights Ron posted so I could be wrong

    1
  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Sep 25, 2017 at 10:54 AM

    Comment #18

    The stats did seem to improve a lot after Brighton scored and when Shelvey came on

    1
  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Sep 25, 2017 at 10:55 AM

    Comment #19

    Ibiza…I am off to…talk to you later

    1
  • sing in the corner

    Sep 25, 2017 at 10:58 AM

    Comment #20

    The usual during-game slagging off of individual players is already done on the blog.
    What interested me was the psychology aspect yesterday. From the off I thought the majority of the lads looked like they didn’t fancy being there. We were slower to move the ball, ‘too much passing sideways’ was back, unless Merino had the ball at his feet. Team spirit has been obviously terrific in the last few games, not so much yesterday, even before we were behind.
    And nobody on here mentioned the sky coverage of Rafa turning round to talk to Shelvey on the bench during the game. No idea what was said but Shelvey stared at him stoney faced and never replied.
    I just have a feeling something has gone on, no ide what.

    2
  • Lindisfarne

    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #21

    Hibbit – I have previously submitted a more positive Joselu song and I would not begrudge him starting the next match. Just a bit of fun.

    I like Hayden but was dissapointed with his lack of technical ability in & around their penalty area, whereas Mbemba actually pulled off a step over. For some reason yesterday the front four were not able to be successful and I do not know if it was because of themselves or their defenders. Hopefully it is just one of those matches and I look forward to the next, win lose or draw.

    0
  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:03 AM

    Comment #22

    Ibiza,
    Jesper made a point of saying he wouldn’t be watching the game as family came first. Like family doesn’t come first for all of us here, I managed a full day with the family and see the game, him sounding morally superior by saying family comes first doesn’t really wash since he spent most of the day bickering on here about his family time. Unfortunately for the football crazy Fugslang family next week’s game is on during the family dinner, what kind of degenerate father would move a dinner forward an hour to catch the second half.

    10
  • toontaff2

    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:04 AM

    Comment #23

    Ibiza, I think my last comment: ‘I stand by what I have said. If Jester wants to continue his name calling and wants to highlight my ‘crap’ comments, so be it.’- should highlight my position, to most. I’m done with it, but, as you can see, one party clearly is not! No doubt, he’ll be moving on to argue with others, shortly! Whatever he once was to you on here, now he just argues constantly with many, not just me!
    ED is in charge of this blog and unless he has issues with these multiples, I’m not interested. Just think what happened last week with Bobby should actually highlight the need to stop trying to ‘out’ posters – it was something about Rob Vollans, I think, when I first came here – I mean stalking is actually illegal. Not a fan of social media, so no one will find me, thankfully!

    1
  • Ron Knee

    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:04 AM

    Comment #24

    U23s LIVE: Tonight’s @PLYouth game against @Wolves will be LIVE on NUFC TV tonight!

    0
  • toontaff2

    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:05 AM

    Comment #25

    No point you mentioning the family, Jail, you wife beater, you!
    😆

    2
  • toontaff2

    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:09 AM

    Comment #26

    Never mind, eh? Mitro’s back, v Liverpool. According to many, he’s the answer! I’m just wondering to which question?
    Mbemba was fouled, but surely he was out of position, for the goal?

    0
  • Lindisfarne

    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #27

    Sing – just before I get back to the day job.

    I think the clip you are referring to was about 5-10 minutes before Shelvey came on and Hayden had again list the ball too easily in their penalty area. It was a brief ‘instruction’ from Rafa with very little acknowledgement, other than a slight nod. Although strange to interpret, I did not feel there was any tension in the exchange. Also if you listen to 5live catch up of the Friday Football Social (start at 15 minutes) you will here Stevie G explain how Rafa motivates his players to prove themselves to him.

    2
  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:15 AM

    Comment #28

    I think he’ll still start with Joselu as it could totally ruin his confidence if he drops him, he stuck with Selz a bit longer than he should so I think he’ll give Joselu another chance. Plus he’s probably dying to hear the Joselu song live.

    2
  • toontaff2

    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:20 AM

    Comment #29

    Maybe Mitro’s been practising his finishing against a barn door?
    Unless he’s transformed himself into a faster, more mobile, deadly striker without his usual moment of complete madness thrown in, I fail to see him getting anywhere near the starting line up, against Liverpool.

    0
  • martoon

    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:20 AM

    Comment #30

    Lindisfarne @7 – For what it’s worth it made me smile and so much better than my effort earlier. This is a NUFC blog but if we can’t have a bit of fun, even if it is about one of our own players, then we may as well all give up now!

    1
  • sing in the corner

    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:21 AM

    Comment #31

    On football..
    It’s a bit galling to read that Joselu has been written off by lots of our fans already.
    Let’s have a bit of perspective here (I know that is asking a lot 🙂 )
    Joselu has done ok. He missed 2 clear opportunities against Stoke, and one really tough one. His all round play has been good, movement, anticipation, linking up. He is physically stronger and better in the air than he was billed before he came here.
    He had a great header against Swans that would have beat just about any keeper on most days.
    The one against Brighton…I thought he was a little unlucky. One of those that just pops up to you, back to goal, need to react,swivel and make a good connection and in it goes 9 times out of ten.
    It’s FAR too early to judge him, he has only had a handful of chances. I recall every striker I’ve seen at St James miss a fair few they shouldn’t have over the years in spells. Even Shearer.
    Back the lads!

    3
  • bettyswallocks

    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:25 AM

    Comment #32

    Toontaff2 ……. As Jesper did indeed ask for debate on the issue of his busy schedule on match days and his lack of opportunity to be near a T V , I would like to add that I do not like his inference that those of us with young children who do manage to watch the game are somehow neglecting their parental responsibilities. Please forgive me if I have got the wrong end of the stick here but it did come across that way.

    5
  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #33

    sitc,
    I think it’s more a case of us worrying about him writing himself off, if it becomes an issue in his head he can’t score then it becomes a problem for the whole team.

    0
  • martoon

    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #34

    toontaff2 @29 – I think under normal circumstances Rafa would not bring Mitro straight back like he did with Shelvey. However as both Joselu & Gayle seem to be misfiring at the moment Rafa may not have any choice – while not prolific Mitro had scored goals in his last few games for Serbia & us.

    1
  • hibbit

    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:28 AM

    Comment #35

    martoon /lindi
    a bit of fun / fair do’s

    but unfortunately the lunatic fringe on here take it as gospel the abuse he got on here during the game was shocking

    1
  • sing in the corner

    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:34 AM

    Comment #36

    JfA
    All strikers lose confidence when they miss a few. The fans need to keep getting behind him, I don’t think it’s the right time to hook him yet. He has contributed well, the goals will come and back floods the confidence. Obviously it can’t go on forever..
    Two clear cut chances missed, and one very tough one, one opportunist one, in the last 2 games.
    I would start Joselu v Liverpool, Mitro option from the bench.

    5
  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:36 AM

    Comment #37

    Very similar to the game against Huddersfield in that they played like the underdog and never gave our players any space and we couldn’t cope although we fluffed a fair amount of good chances which could be our undoing this season!

    Against West Ham , Swansea and Stoke we played them like they were favourites and couldn’t cope and I feel it will be these games where we will get the results as I can see us struggling against teams who actually stop us playing like Burnley etc will do

    Liverpool anything could happen they could destroy us but with their defence we will always have a chance

    1
  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:37 AM

    Comment #38

    Also Joselu didn’t look up for the battle after being kicked in the first minute Duffy and Dunk bullied him

    1
  • toontaff2

    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #39

    Sky Sport News – Ref watch – Dermot Gallagher – definite intent, should go before the panel and 3 match ban. Pigs can fly!!!

    0
  • sing in the corner

    Sep 25, 2017 at 11:47 AM

    Comment #40

    Oh ffs anyone watching Sky??
    Dermot Gallagher doing ‘ref watch’ trying his best to avoid calling that Hemed incident a deliberate stamp. Replay after replay, and all he can say is his initial impression was ‘where else could he put his foot?’. Grudgingly says it will probably go to the panel to decide.
    People say there is no anti Toon bias at all? Howay man, it was clear as day, a worse stamp than the Shelvey one all day long!

    2

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