It’s turning out to be a critical game tonight at the Hawthorns where we are hoping at least to break our four-game losing streak – but we have to realize we could also suffer our 5th defeat in a row.
If that happens, we’ll try not to overreact, but that could signal a worrying season ahead for Newcastle fans.
We’re sick of fighting relegation.
Rafa still has Paul Dummett, Jamaal Lascelles and Christian Atsu out injured so there may not be a lot of changes to the starting eleven.
After a poor performance all around last Saturday in the 3-0 hammering by Watford at home in what was our worst performance of the season, the manager may give most of the players a chance to redeem themselves tonight at the Hawthorns.
Dwight Gayle – scores our last goal at Old Trafford in 4-1 defeat
Mikel Merino is almost a certainty to start the game and with Isaac Hayden having served his one match suspension for picking up 5 yellow cards – he is also available.
Rafa will want the players to concentrate on the fundamentals tonight as he tries to get the team back to winning ways.
Wins are what we need to pull ourselves clear of the drop zone – we are currently only four points clear of 3rd bottom West Ham United.
Here’s a possible side Rafa could start tonight and he will likely revert back to his more common 4-2-3-1 formation:
Yedlin Lejeune Clark Manquillo
Hayden Shelvey (c)
Ritchie Merino Murphy
However, we still think Rafa is going to persevere with Joselu up front.
But with Merino, in the number 10 position, he could provide some physicality up front to help Gayle, and the Spanish U21 International can score goals too.
Gayle is our only natural goalscorer and if gets a chance in the box he can score some goals for us – hopefully tonight.
About three in five fans think we can take something out of this game tonight – we need the points!