Growing Concerns About The Fitness Of Mikel Merino


You can never really tell, but if we could have brought Mikel Merino into the game at Burnley last night early in the second half as we did against Crystal Palace, it could have made the difference.

But Mikel was not even on the bench as he has picked up a back injury but we don’t know the severity of it.

It looks like Rafa Benitez is sending him to a specialist this week to see how severe it is.

The manager will be keen to have his creativity and skill available for the game at home to Bournemouth on Saturday.

Mikel Merino – to see a specialist

After the 1-0 defeat last night – the third 1-0 away defeat this season, this is what Rafa said about Merino:

“We have to wait to see. “He’ll see a specialist and we’ll see how he feels.”

“We’ll see what the specialist says after a couple of days to see we have the right decision.”

We have only two injured players – Paul Dummett and now Mikel merino who has been outstanding for us this season.

So good that he was missed last night at Burnley but hopefully everything will be OK, and he can be available for the game at home to Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon.

We really need to win that game before the next long and boring International break where we’ll see the playoffs take place for the World Cup in Russia next summer.

Bournemouth are another very well organized team under young manager Eddie Howe.

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73 comments so far

  • toontaff2

    Oct 31, 2017 at 8:28 AM

    Comment #1

    To think I organised my holiday around this international break, expecting Wales to be in the play offs!
    Never mind, Keswick on the Saturday night to watch us v ManU on BT – the black and white dog can watch, too!

    1
  • toontaff2

    Oct 31, 2017 at 8:29 AM

    Comment #2

    A few regulars missing in action – where’s Jesper?

    1
  • ShirebrookToon

    Oct 31, 2017 at 8:30 AM

    Comment #3

    He’s watching the highlights 😆

    4
  • Lindisfarne

    Oct 31, 2017 at 8:39 AM

    Comment #4

    Watched the whole 90 minutes and think Joselu has lost his self belief, which will not come back with starting every match.

    1
  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 31, 2017 at 8:41 AM

    Comment #5

    I think Rafa is cutting his nose off to spite his face with Mitrovich.

    7
  • Lindisfarne

    Oct 31, 2017 at 8:43 AM

    Comment #6

    Sorry, 93 minutes. Honestly, I was watching and can therefore offer an opinion.

    2
  • Lindisfarne

    Oct 31, 2017 at 8:47 AM

    Comment #7

    Jail

    I thought you said Mitro had been given enough opportunities?

    You are right, something needs to change and IMO across the front four.

    0
  • toontaff2

    Oct 31, 2017 at 8:48 AM

    Comment #8

    Thankfully, I had a few cans! Mind, was anyone expecting El Classico?

    1
  • martoon

    Oct 31, 2017 at 8:48 AM

    Comment #9

    Jail – what was the feeling of the away supporters?

    1
  • toontaff2

    Oct 31, 2017 at 8:49 AM

    Comment #10

    Ritchie looked jaded – Murphy for him, next match?

    1
  • toontaff2

    Oct 31, 2017 at 8:50 AM

    Comment #11

    Fcuking sick, Martoon 😆

    2
  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 31, 2017 at 8:52 AM

    Comment #12

    Lindisfarne,
    What I said is to counter the argument of those that say he deserves a place or should be given a chance, he’s been given plenty of chances and has let us down. He needs to start in place of Joselu because he’s better and unfortunately Joselu is pants, as someone said he’s lost his self belief and worse it looks like his team mates have lost faith in him which makes our attack look completely toothless.

    0
  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Oct 31, 2017 at 8:54 AM

    Comment #13

    Morning folks…

    That game last took more than a few cans to get through…and over!

    When we are regid and predictable and ineffective we are really regid, predictable and ineffective

    1
  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 31, 2017 at 8:54 AM

    Comment #14

    martoon,
    That Joselu is pants. Good atmosphere but we went quiet for a good spell as the game was mind numbingly boring.

    0
  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 31, 2017 at 8:56 AM

    Comment #15

    Jesper,
    Please don’t take offence by this but did you watch the game, I think it’s important that you share this with us so we know what you’re judging us on.

    0
  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 31, 2017 at 9:05 AM

    Comment #16

    The BBC stats have it as a very I interesting game.

    0
  • Slank

    Oct 31, 2017 at 9:10 AM

    Comment #17

    toontaff2,

    Yes I thought too that Ritchie looked a bit jaded.

    But I’m not sure that Murphy is the answer but at some point Rafa has to give the lad a shot.

    0
  • martoon

    Oct 31, 2017 at 9:10 AM

    Comment #18

    Cheers Jail – I think we all knew it was never going to be a classic. I have to agree I think Mitro needs to start and not sure what he’s done to not even get a place on bench ahead of Saivet?

    1
  • lochinvar

    Oct 31, 2017 at 9:11 AM

    Comment #19

    Jail – BBC stats would have a chess match as very interesting and come to think of it that’s exactly what last nights game was. What we need is Queen Amanda to knock over Bishop Bishop and Pawn Charnley to give King Rafa a winning position. Checkmate.

    3
  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Oct 31, 2017 at 9:12 AM

    Comment #20

    Thought the TOON fans were brilliant last night for most of the game but came more subdued as the game went on and the TOON’s performance or lack of it.

    Got to have a dig at RAFA for setting us up whatever the opposition with one up front and go for a 0-0 or pinching a goal.

    Huddersfield, Brighton and Burnley we could of got something if we were a little bit more adventerous

    Fair enough but if the opposition scores then we are up the creek without a paddle as he tends to play the same rigid formation and changing subs for like.

    Also I think RAFA has got to swallow his pride and start with Mitrovich as playing Joselu up front on his own is not working and Josleu by his own admittance does not like playing up front – maybe even sacrificing Perez for Mitrovich and playing Joselu as the No. 10 and Mitrovich up front.

    3
  • chicousa

    Oct 31, 2017 at 9:14 AM

    Comment #21

    I was finally able to watch a match in person as I am over here in England for a few days. Merino was a huge miss for us, as the Burnley defense proved a touch lock to pick, and we needed Mikel’s vision and creativity to pick the lock. I thought the chain of events that led to the goal started with Perez losing the ball in a terrible spot and I think Rafa essentially pointed his finger at Ayoze when he immediately replaced him seconds after that. Finally I was very disappointed that Rafa did not start Mitrovic who certainly would have rattled the Burnley defense more than Joselu or Gayle were able to do.

    1
  • RUNAWAY777

    Oct 31, 2017 at 9:14 AM

    Comment #22

    Did i see jail say rafas cutting his nose off about mitro or am i dreaming still anyway work calls later lads

    0
  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 31, 2017 at 9:16 AM

    Comment #23

    Charlie,
    Not sure if he’s properly fallen out with Mitro but he has to start him ahead of Joselu if he’s going to stick to one up front.

    0
  • Mag52

    Oct 31, 2017 at 9:20 AM

    Comment #24

    We looked what we are yesterday. A largely championship side, missing an important player, who will need the boost of the home crowd to get us most of our points this season.

    1
  • lochinvar

    Oct 31, 2017 at 9:21 AM

    Comment #25

    Some earlier comments about Mitro being a liability so not getting his chance to get back into the team.
    Is that not the case with Shelvey then who was zero against Spurs and last night was MOM but not hero.
    The team needs a shake up and I think the players need it as a few looked jaded last night and not helped by some poor performances such as Diame around them which is frustrating and tiring.

    0
  • ToonRich

    Oct 31, 2017 at 9:29 AM

    Comment #26

    Anyone think Gayle could do a job as a narrow winger in the 3 behind the front man? Sure he use to get game time in the position and score goals for Palace?

    Atsu/Murphy/Gayle…or even stick Mbemba in the back 4 and play Yedders on the wing?

    We do need to switch it up, Joselu isnt getting the rub of the green, limited chances and not his head is down. We’ve probably got the players to try a false #9 at the moment and suprise teams!

    1
  • Slank

    Oct 31, 2017 at 9:37 AM

    Comment #27

    martoon,

    I would like to think that Rafa would always be objective and select the players he believes are the most capable for their positions (round pegs, round holes) but I sense there may be a part of his character that favours some players to the exclusion of others for subjective reasons.

    Most of us saw that Sels was not better than Darlow or Elliott but Rafa still persisted with him for longer than any of us, I’m sure, would have.

    Mitrovich is his own worst enemy and deserves punishment but surely not at the total exclusion from the team and arguably at the detriment of the team and fans.

    Same would appear to be true with Mbemba. Although a central defender I think he is a better left back than Manquillo but why is he too being sidelined.

    I really hope the same thing is not about to happen to Clark who I believe is far superior to Lejeune but to be fair Clark has more experience at this level than Lejeune.

    1
  • Rotonda heights

    Oct 31, 2017 at 9:39 AM

    Comment #28

    I have to say quite possibly the worst match i’ve ever watched.

    It’s true we are a team with no stars (thanks Mike!) but sadly we are also a team with no star quality (again thanks Mike)

    Joselu was probably in carr style a 5th or 6th option who had an early flourish but has petered out very badly. Perez has moments but that’s all they are, very little tangible end result. Shelvey without a premier league standard Gayle type has no one to hit with his passes. Atsu is very up and down too.
    Even now at only 21 Merino looks head and shoulders above anything else we have.

    Ironically and it’s the first time I can ever say this as a NUFC fan, the defence looks good and we have clark and mbemba in reserve.

    Incidentally why did Bobbybee leave?

    3
  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Oct 31, 2017 at 9:42 AM

    Comment #29

    Jail
    It’s every game we play one up front – Bournemouth will be no different – worry if he drops Joselu who I would rather have than if he reverts to last year – when he played Gayle and Perez.

    I know RAFA has blamed our defeat on one mistake but is a team who have to defend for long periods and keep passing the ball sideways and backwards going to make a mistake and get punished in the Premiership.

    When we did keep the ball on the deck and had a go at Burnley they panicked and pulled back our players by the shirts – I thought if we had a go last night we would of got something – as we have to get something from these games/teams who are going to be around us before we meet the big fish

    1
  • Rotonda heights

    Oct 31, 2017 at 9:42 AM

    Comment #30

    slank

    I think Lejeune could be huge for us. Clark has done well and it’s hard lines for him, but not in a million years is he better than Lejeune. Lejeune seems to have time which is always a sign of a top player.

    2
  • Rotonda heights

    Oct 31, 2017 at 9:44 AM

    Comment #31

    most teams play with one up top. that in itself isn’t negative as long as others get up in support.

    0
  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Oct 31, 2017 at 9:50 AM

    Comment #32

    Please don’t take offence Jail, but I don’t think I need to share anything with you!

    I am actually quite sure the average blogger on here would agree…

    1
  • Jib

    Oct 31, 2017 at 9:53 AM

    Comment #33

    I wish folk would stop saying we have yet to
    meet the big fish , as if Burnley are no-marks
    This season, they’ve won at Chelsea and drawn
    away to both Tottenham and Liverpool,
    while they are now unbeaten in the past four at Turf Moor.

    2
  • Slank

    Oct 31, 2017 at 9:55 AM

    Comment #34

    Rotonda

    I would go as far as ‘not in a million years is he better than Lejeune’.

    They are both good and its arguable there isn’t much between them.

    My point was that I hope Clark is not sidelined like Mitrovich and Mbemba.

    1
  • carl

    Oct 31, 2017 at 9:56 AM

    Comment #35

    Given the squad we’ve got we’re punching well above our weight. So what if we’ve got a workmanlike approach. Performances and results should be celebrated not sneered at by many who seem to take only a passing interest.
    Like many though I was disappointed last night, but overall very happy with the season to date.
    Let’s please not start scapegoating individual players.

    4
  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 31, 2017 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #36

    Jesper,
    I think the average blogger would prefer to know if someone who is giving his opinion on a game has actually seen said game or is forming his opinion on the comments on here or the stats on corners, shots etc on the Sky or BBC reports.

    0
  • hibbit

    Oct 31, 2017 at 10:22 AM

    Comment #37

    i don’t rate Mitro at all, but there’s got to be a major problem for him to not even make the bench in the squad we have

    think he’s definitely gone in January !!

    3
  • AncientC

    Oct 31, 2017 at 10:24 AM

    Comment #38

    Voted Manquillo MOTM, he is really starting to show signs of what he is about now. I feel bad for Shelvey, all that talent, and nobody to aim his precision through balls at. Manquillo and Yedlin were pushed right up almost as wing-backs, the theory was sound, but the execution was lacking. I find it difficult to blame Yedlin for his crossing though… there isn’t anybody making a run on the front post for him. I honestly didn’t expect Mitrovic to make the match day squad—that’s almost guaranteed all about to change.

    2
  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 31, 2017 at 10:27 AM

    Comment #39

    hibbit,
    That will depend on who’s running the club, I don’t think finding a buyer for around 15M will be a problem, it’s getting the funds released to replace him if he is sold. Rafa must have felt like he was hung out to dry after he told Gayle he could leave only to find he couldn’t replace him if he did go.

    0
  • hibbit

    Oct 31, 2017 at 10:30 AM

    Comment #40

    Jail
    Ashley will be gone money will be available 100% guaranteed

    0

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