This Could Be Newcastle’s Strongest Side Against Watford

Now that Rafa has given his press conference for the game tomorrow against Watford we have the very good news that Mikel Merino is fit to start the game.

And that’s exactly what we think Rafa will as Isaac Hayden is suspended for this game after picking up his 5th yellow card of the season at Old Trafford last Saturday night.

And with Newcastle losing our last three games the lads have to stop the rot at St. James’ Park tomorrow – a win would be terrific

Mikel Merino – fit to start tomorrow

This is the side we think Rafa could start tomorrow afternoon and it includes both Mikel Merino and Chancel Mbemba in the starting line-up in a 4-4-2 formation.

Yedlin Lejeune Clark Mbemba
Richie Shelvey (c) Merino Murphy
Gayle Joselu

We don’t know if Rafa will play a 4-4-2 formation but having Joselu with Dwight Gayle up front helps Dwight, and the striker has to start since he’s the only natural goalscorer we have right now.

We will also have to hope that our defense plays a lot better than of late, and surely Chancel Mbemba deserves another chance at left-back in place of Javier Manquillo who had a bit of a nightmare second half at Old Trafford last Saturday.

Some time on the bench would do Javier good, and we also have to play on Tuesday night at West Brom and then the following Saturday in the late game at Chelsea.

The talented Mbemba deserves his chance, and he can also play as a defensive midfielder.

We would think Chancel would be a very useful squad member at Newcastle because he can play in so many different positions but it doesn’t appear that Rafa rates him too highly – for whatever reason.

Rafa may even sell him in the January transfer window.

What would your team be for tomorrow’s very important game?

How Will Newcastle Fare Against Watford?

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Comments welcome.

94 comments so far

  • Veltman

    Nov 24, 2017 at 3:20 PM

    Comment #1

    I’d play exactly that team Ed put out.Phew!

  • armoadam

    Nov 24, 2017 at 3:28 PM

    Comment #2

    When are we going to stop playing with 10 men? If you are smart enough to see that Manquillo is worthless, when will Rafa and the rest of you see that playing Horselu is totally worthless? Please play anyone else with Gayle!!!!

  • Sheikh MagToon

    Nov 24, 2017 at 3:39 PM

    Comment #3

    Joselu is an apparition. I’ve only seen him for seconds at a time in last 4 games.

    Time for Mitro. Shelvey put 2 more through balls to him in 20 minutes against West Ham than he’s been able to do to Joselu almost all season (can only think of fluke against Liverpool). My prediction is same as for last 2 home games: we’ll only score when Mitro is on the pitch.

    Given fact Watford have scored 2 in all 7 away games this season, we need to score first, not a late consolation.

  • YoungMag :P

    Nov 24, 2017 at 3:46 PM

    Comment #4


    Pace out wide and a good mix of strength and pace upfront.

  • YoungMag :P

    Nov 24, 2017 at 3:47 PM

    Comment #5

    I meant Lejuene over Lascelles.

  • Frank pingles come sock

    Nov 24, 2017 at 3:48 PM

    Comment #6

    I got told – end of next week (wrapped up)

    Also the 1st bid was a 300 million bid over 6 years – 50 million a year

    He wants 350 million all in one go ?

    Pcp- wanted half back if relegated ?

    I took it all with a pinch of salt but that’s what he said

    Also said deal will defo happen though, too far down the line and pcp won’t give up

  • Frank pingles come sock

    Nov 24, 2017 at 3:49 PM

    Comment #7

    He works in ticket office so probably 3rd or 4th hand info

  • Ginger Pirlo

    Nov 24, 2017 at 3:53 PM

    Comment #8

    Frank that’s good hopefully just in time for Christmas

    Armoadam manquilla has done a decent job for being a rb but if dummet is fit we should play him

  • Lindisfarne

    Nov 24, 2017 at 3:56 PM

    Comment #9

    Have a feeling Diame will start ahead of Merino.

  • Jib

    Nov 24, 2017 at 3:57 PM

    Comment #10


  • catchy in norway

    Nov 24, 2017 at 4:03 PM

    Comment #11

    Wow, just Wow anyone who thinks our strongest team contains both Murphy and Joselu needs to go and take a long hard look in the mirror, they will see a crazy person staring back at them.
    2 players that between them might be visible for a total of 5 minutes

  • Lindisfarne

    Nov 24, 2017 at 4:04 PM

    Comment #12

    Sorry, just caught up with the press conference and Mikel may be able to start, although Watford do pack out the midfield and Shelvey / Merino may find it tough. Diame could be used to bolster the numbers and play one up front.

  • catchy in norway

    Nov 24, 2017 at 4:06 PM

    Comment #13

    thinking who rafa will pick is a different thing though

  • Lindisfarne

    Nov 24, 2017 at 4:08 PM

    Comment #14

    My pick:


  • lesh

    Nov 24, 2017 at 4:15 PM

    Comment #15

    armoadam, Catchy

    You’re clearly frustrated at some of the proposed line ups – try and imagine how Rafa feels. It’s thanks to Ashley’s greed that he hasn’t got many to choose from!

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 24, 2017 at 4:17 PM

    Comment #16

    What makes your football knowledge so superior to others that theirs can be dismissed out of hand. You work on boats and coach a boys team, oh and you backed McLaren to the hilt!

  • lesh

    Nov 24, 2017 at 4:23 PM

    Comment #17


    I’ve suffered iPhone pop-ups, games sites and now a black screen that invites me to rotate my device (a windows 10 mobile). These embedded things only occur on this site and I wonder whether you might persuade your web-site designer to have a look at what is are bally annoying phenomena.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 24, 2017 at 4:28 PM

    Comment #18

    It’s out of order, as you say it only happens on here, doesn’t happen on BBC sport or etc, makes you wonder if someone is paying for the privilege.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 24, 2017 at 4:31 PM

    Comment #19

    And wtf would you buy a game or enter a competition that peed you off so much anyway.

  • Jib

    Nov 24, 2017 at 4:32 PM

    Comment #20
  • Lindisfarne

    Nov 24, 2017 at 4:34 PM

    Comment #21

    Press conference:

    Merino will be in the squad.

    Important to start winning games, we need to be more consistent and for 90 minutes.

    0-1 losses were by a small margin, which will change with experience.

    Every PL game is a tough game.

    Players don’t talk about the possible change in ownership.

    No guarantee of more money in transfer window with a new owner.

    Happy with young team and working on improving players by talking and learning.

    The group keep training well and working on getting better.

    Mitrovic has to work hard to take the place of top scorer Gayle and show well when given an opportunity.

    Murphy needs time to improve.

    Enjoys seeing players that he has worked with becoming Internationals.

    Watford have quality and well organised.

    Merino a good talisman for a winning team.

    Losing three games is not a disaster, Rafa is positive about the team to keep improving. A lot of the players have come from the Championship, they are doing well and will do better.

  • toonincheek

    Nov 24, 2017 at 4:38 PM

    Comment #22


    Good to see photos of training – Tks muchly.

  • Online Guy

    Nov 24, 2017 at 4:42 PM

    Comment #23

    Here’s a bit of fun .

    On the day the takeover actually happens

    Can we all have a pop at the headline on the front page of the Newcastle Evening Chronicle ?

    Here’s my effort to kick it off…actually I will post mine later but here’s something that won’t be on the chrons front page .

    Sports shop tat fat twat Ash takes Cash….. Aufweiderschen Tat.

  • lesh

    Nov 24, 2017 at 4:44 PM

    Comment #24


    I’m not even sure those three pop-ups are ads as we understand them. I wonder whether they’re something akin to the Trojan type of malware that sits in the device and nicks information? I dunno as I don’t have much clue about IT. * prepares for avalanche of comments from snipers *

  • Ginger Pirlo

    Nov 24, 2017 at 4:45 PM

    Comment #25

    My team would be
    Yedlin Lejaune Clark Manquillo
    Hayden Shelvey
    Murphy Mitro/ Gayle Ritchie

  • lesh

    Nov 24, 2017 at 4:51 PM

    Comment #26


    Tat fat cat gets paws on PCP’s pounds.

  • jane

    Nov 24, 2017 at 4:53 PM

    Comment #27

    Premier League 2 Division Two

    FULHAM U23 3 NEWCASTLE UNITED U23 0 (this afternoon)

    1 F. Woodman
    3 K. Cameron
    6 M. Gillesphey
    2 B. Kitchen
    5 J. Yarney
    8 D. Barlaser
    4 O. Bailey
    10 D. Ward Substituted
    9 T. Heardman Substituted
    11 C. Roberts
    7 Víctor Fernández Substituted
    Coach: P. Beardsley

  • Online Guy

    Nov 24, 2017 at 4:53 PM

    Comment #28

    Lesh @17

    Exact same here..cleaned browser and all history from tablet, Also reset tablet compleato, no good. . I’m also getting the rotate yer screen thing, black screen ..if you keep it rotated and hit the small x top right it takes longer to come up with the game crap. Only happens on this site .

  • c-dog

    Nov 24, 2017 at 4:58 PM

    Comment #29

    “This Could Be Newcastle’s Strongest Side Against Watford”

    That heading coupled with Joselu included in the XI makes this the most inaccurate article I’ve ever read on this blog.

    Joselu = Garbage

    Would rather see Darlow start

  • YoungMag :P

    Nov 24, 2017 at 5:17 PM

    Comment #30

    Our u23’s are awful.

    I hope that the new owners completely change up our youth recruitment and setup.

  • RUNAWAY777

    Nov 24, 2017 at 5:26 PM

    Comment #31

    Really think rafe should start with mitro and gayle and merlno also darlow deserves a chance in goal iinstead of Elliot shirebrooke watch what you say sure some on here are wait to shoot you and hibbit down

  • magic hat

    Nov 24, 2017 at 5:45 PM

    Comment #32

    Someone mentioned the other day that Bahrain might be the middle eastern connection which reminded me that a Bahrain prince who is a friend of a friend went to university in Newcastle and visits said friend in Newcastle I regularly. I’ve been trying to ask if they know anything but haven’t heard back yet… just another takeover rumour… thought I’d chuck that in the pot…

    Rafa bingo:

    Yedlin Clark lejune manq
    Ritchie shelvey diame Murphy
    Joselu Gayle

    Not the team I’d choose though. As I wouldn’t give either diame or Joselu a start. Like many others I’d rather see mitro and mbemba.

  • catchy in norway

    Nov 24, 2017 at 5:53 PM

    Comment #33


    give a rest with the shteve bashing. i went with him because he was the best of a bad bunch, as records go.

    we were never in for a Rafa type manager, and in fact if you want to go check you will see i said all along that NUFC was still a big club for big managers to come to with Ashley still here , oh and you always said we would ONLY get joke in here pardew types.

    and it’s not football knowledge you need just a pair of eyes you numpty, one doesn’t seem to know where the goal is and cannot hold a ball up has zero pace, and the other plays hide and seek when ever he is on the pitch.

    but i have questioned your eye sight for a long time, you do come across as a very blinkered person.

  • Jib

    Nov 24, 2017 at 5:57 PM

    Comment #34

    Sky’s Jim White
    “What I do know this Friday lunchtime is, Ashley remains a willing seller, Amanda Staveley is a willing buyer and her company PCP is known to hold Ashley’s business acumen in high regard.”

  • ShirebrookToon

    Nov 24, 2017 at 5:57 PM

    Comment #35

    Matchday tomorrow thank fcuk. Feels like a lifetime since I last went to st James.

    No sleep for me tonight.

    I’m used to being watched by snipers mate 😉

  • ShirebrookToon

    Nov 24, 2017 at 5:58 PM

    Comment #36

    Jim White

    I’ve forgot more than that cnut knows 😆

  • ShirebrookToon

    Nov 24, 2017 at 5:59 PM

    Comment #37

    Magic Hat

    Be careful mate what your say. Some will have you down as a story teller lmao

  • catchy in norway

    Nov 24, 2017 at 6:02 PM

    Comment #38


    Rafa has full control over the players he bright in, or so we are lead to believe. he brought Manquillio murphy Joselu to the club and plays them. IMO we had better in Mbemba aaron’s (when fit) Mitro.

    Diane Diame is pants and also gets a lot of game time.

  • posada

    Nov 24, 2017 at 6:40 PM

    Comment #39

    Fair point. So predictable. His favourites get picked time and again.
    Despite poor form.
    Others, one error and they are out.
    In my view not the work of an inspirational manager like SBR.

  • hibbit

    Nov 24, 2017 at 6:55 PM

    Comment #40



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