Newcastle’s Predicted Starting Eleven For Crucial Game At West Brom

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.

11Crystal Palace38-1044
13West Ham38-2042

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!

How Will Newcastle Fare At West Brom?

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Comments welcome.

134 comments so far

  • rozehnal

    Nov 28, 2017 at 2:04 PM

    Comment #1

    Don’t understand why mbemba is not starting ahead of Manquillo, Better defensively and attacking!

  • Jib

    Nov 28, 2017 at 2:14 PM

    Comment #2
  • ShirebrookToon

    Nov 28, 2017 at 2:23 PM

    Comment #3

    Quite like that selection Jib. And Merino does play there for Spain so why not try him at no10

  • kimbo

    Nov 28, 2017 at 2:23 PM

    Comment #4

    Just listened to Rafa defending Joselu not scoring goals but doing a great job defending………..Well Rafa goals win games so once again a load of bull coming out of his mouth. So Joselu will start tonight this means we will not score!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Tsunki

    Nov 28, 2017 at 2:38 PM

    Comment #5

    Not saying there is or isn’t progress on the club sale, but if I was any one of the parties involved getting wind that social media was full of progress info i would sharp plug the leaks. Maybe the reason we haven’t heard is because they’ve tightened up security and stopped sharing doughnuts with the box office staff.

  • Jib

    Nov 28, 2017 at 2:40 PM

    Comment #6

    Shire I’m hoping Perez can replicate
    his gaol vs WBA 3 years ago this month.

  • Tsunki

    Nov 28, 2017 at 2:40 PM

    Comment #7

    When you look at eds best team up there it dawns on you just how weak we are in this league.

  • Jib

    Nov 28, 2017 at 2:40 PM

    Comment #8

    gaol !!!
    ffs goal

  • Tsunki

    Nov 28, 2017 at 2:40 PM

    Comment #9

    Interesting autocorrect jib.

  • Toon1985

    Nov 28, 2017 at 2:45 PM

    Comment #10

    ShirebrookToon I appreciate your updates on here. Any update on the take over?

  • EllaGuru

    Nov 28, 2017 at 2:54 PM

    Comment #11


    That setup warrants a go. I would rather replace Manquillo with Mbemba however. I have little faith in either Manquillo or Yedlin defensively and would rather one side more defensive, particularly to help out Murphy defensively.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:02 PM

    Comment #12

    Did you expect him to tell us that he’s shite, he pretty much did anyway with his valuation breakdown on what he’s worth.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:04 PM

    Comment #13

    No Mitro Jib?

  • hibbit

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:06 PM

    Comment #14

    maybe you should have listened to the full interview you might have learned something !!!!

  • OneAlanShearer

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:10 PM

    Comment #15

    Ellaguru- agreed on mbemba. At least leaves us with 3 at the back. I’d possibly move manquillo to right back as he’s better defensively imho.

    I would really like to see Richie used at number 10 with Aaron’s taking the left or right spot with Murphy. That or try merino there.

  • RUNAWAY777

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:11 PM

    Comment #16

    If that’s best we can put out god help us as really speaking wba could have won at tottenham on sat after that result it will give them plenty of conference for tonight’s game still see rafa changing 2 or 3 for the game lets hope joselu and manquillo not going to predict this everything going on could be on this game lv nufc

  • EllaGuru

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:15 PM

    Comment #17

    I am not sure if it is the fact Lascelles has been missing, or the fact that both Yedlin and Manquillo have been starting, but we have been ragged at the back recently. I believe it is a combination of both, and a partial fix would be Mbemba in at RB or LB.
    I am also worried about Lejeune’s errors. He has not been the most confident inspiring CB over the last few weeks, although not too bad with the ball at his feet to be fair to him. I hope it is just a question of him getting used to the PL.

  • Jib

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:18 PM

    Comment #18

    I have a feeling Mitro is down the road
    in a few weeks so won’t be played

  • OneAlanShearer

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:20 PM

    Comment #19

    I am actually surprised by lascelles improvement. I think his confidence alongside either Clark or Lejeune will improve things defensively. Dummett coming back will help defensively. I think yedlin is very much a confidence player.when things are going right he plays well but he’s not as good defensively as manquillo. Our first xi when fit can compete against the bottom 12 but it’s such a fragile balance as soon as we lose one we are exposed.

    Hoping for a result tonight but it’s no easy game.

  • Jib

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:21 PM

    Comment #20

    Ella we have been ragged at the back
    because defending starts in midfield
    and Merino and Hayden have been missing

  • EllaGuru

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:23 PM

    Comment #21


    I am really pleasantly surprised by Lascelles. I was guilty of having a go at him at the start of the season as not being good enough for PL. Little did I realise he had been playing the back end of last season requiring a double hernia! The lad has come on leaps and bounds and was rightly being discussed for a call-up.
    It is funny with Dummett. He gets a lot of stick on here, but I am sure folks will be clamouring for him when he is fully fit.

  • Singinginthecorner

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:24 PM

    Comment #22

    For anyone wanting to watch the match tonight here’s a list of the channels it’s on
    beIN Sports MENA HD 13
    beIN Sports MENA HD 8
    beIN Sports Turkey 3 / HD
    SuperSport 6 za / HD
    | Astro SuperSport 1
    | beIN Connect TURKEY
    | beIN Sports THA HD 3
    | mio Stadium 104 HD
    | NBC Premier League Pass [$]
    | SKY NET Sports 1
    | SportsNet World (ca) / HD

  • EllaGuru

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:26 PM

    Comment #23


    I don’t buy that. We have conceded a bunch of goals from wide positions in the last couple of games. Neither Hayden nor Merino are going to fix this completely.

    Don’t get me wrong, I agree that both Hayden and Merino improve us greatly, but they are not our golden bullet in defense.

  • Jib

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:27 PM

    Comment #24

    That list is off LJ footy
    There’s a bigger and better list on

  • Singinginthecorner

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:33 PM

    Comment #25

    Cheers Jib more options there I think tonight is possibly the first time I’ve had to go looking for the match either been at st James park or been on sly

  • rozehnal

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:40 PM

    Comment #26

    I think Yedlin been good for us, His pace has got us out of trouble couple of times. Ritchie has not been great and Shelvey needs to now chip in with goals too, he is too deep

  • Munster Mag

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:43 PM

    Comment #27

    Ellaguru, tbh I only think Lejeune will do well with a good partner. I said a few weeks ago that he doesn’t look all that good at the basics but hopefully I’m wrong. As for Joselu, if Rafa plays him tonight and he doesn’t score or play well, I think many will start to get the hump big time. Personally I think he will play Mitro. If we lose badly to a Smegson dull football team there is going to be a lot of concerned fans on here. I’m going for a 1-1 .

  • EllaGuru

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:46 PM

    Comment #28


    I would argue that his pace gets him out of trouble too many times. You can not hide poor positioning with searing pace forever

  • EllaGuru

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:47 PM

    Comment #29


    The same could probably be said about Clark. He has looked a completely different player to the one that was playing alongside Lascelles early doors this season.

  • EllaGuru

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:54 PM

    Comment #30


    If only we could table a motion of no confidence in Joselu… We might be able to make some progress. 😉

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:54 PM

    Comment #31

    And what if we lose narrowly, will it be all forgiving?

  • Spoof

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:56 PM

    Comment #32


    Perez as the number nine, are you having a laugh, up until then I could see the sense in your side, but Perez as a number nine when long ball is possibly our greatest get out, I’m not half glad your the blog clown and not our manager.

  • robertsleftfoot

    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:59 PM

    Comment #33

    Still dont understand this Rafa love in that is going on………..

    Said it from the middle of last season that he is not really convincing me he is anything special. Any other manager in the Championship last season could have acheived the same with the squad Rafa had at his disposal.

    People seem to think because he has managed Real, Inter, Napoli etc etc he must be world class??? He doesnt have the best record by the way, other than Liverpool.

    Barely lasted 6 months with Inter, barely managed to see the two seasons out at Napoli, lasted 6 months with Madrid. He was hot and cold as Chelsea manager.

    So my point being and there is one. If he cant manage to dominate large parts of games with these “BIG” clubs with fantastic players and unlimited funds how the hell does anyone think he is the saviour of Newcastle or that he is doing a good job?? Or are we just giving him more leniency than we would with anyone else because hes so called world class???

    His tactics are boring and have been at every club, he sets up to not get beat rather than just try and win games. He insists on just keeping things same same same same same no matter if we are getting destroyed at home against lesser teams like Bournemouth and Watford

  • Rotonda heights

    Nov 28, 2017 at 4:01 PM

    Comment #34


    if we lose munster will be all over it it like a cheap suit. got some people who have issues with rafa who almost seem to want us to lose just to prove a point. That said, i hope we never have to see diame again and that mbemba comes in for manquillo. joselu needs saving from himself but not sure mitro is the amswer. quite tempted to play a false 9 with one of perez, murphy and aarons or all 3.

  • YoungMag :P

    Nov 28, 2017 at 4:01 PM

    Comment #35

    If there’s no Shelvey then perez upfront is a good shout in my opinion. Merino plays it on the ground. Could work well with perez.

  • Rotonda heights

    Nov 28, 2017 at 4:04 PM

    Comment #36

    roberts left foot

    don’t let the facts get in the way

    On the other hand you may prefer a single Johnstone Painters trophy winner.

  • Spoof

    Nov 28, 2017 at 4:08 PM

    Comment #37

    Perez as a number nine, crikey, stil can’t get over that one, its WBA we are playing, yes Pulis has gone but his imprint will still be there which is strong and physical, with Perez as number nine they will do to us what Pulis’s Stoke done to Arsenal, they will bully us into defeat, Jib, top marks, when it comes to being a clown, your the man.

  • hibbit

    Nov 28, 2017 at 4:09 PM

    Comment #38


    Rafa Benitez is the only manager in history to have won the UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup.

    maybe you should check your facts before you open that big mouth of yours

  • posada

    Nov 28, 2017 at 4:12 PM

    Comment #39

    Someone said it gets like gang warfare on here.
    Tell me about it.
    Week before last I set out the notion that Amanda was just a stalking horse.
    Brought in to flush out a real bid.
    The reaction from Jail, Hibbit and Rotonda ………..

    Well it was like I had crapped in their kettle.

  • chicousa

    Nov 28, 2017 at 4:15 PM

    Comment #40

    Last season Yedlin benefitted from occasionally being rotated out of the starting 11, coming back strong the following match.

    Lineup for today’s match:
    Manquillo, Lejeune, Clark, Mbemba
    Shelvey, Hayden
    Ritchie, Merino, Murphy

    If reports of a deal for Mitrovic + Cash for Tosun are true then Gayle would be up top.


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