Newcastle Star Back And Playing – But Still Not 100%

Mikel Merino could turn out to be one of Newcastle’s stellar buys if what we have seen from him is indicative of how he will develop in the future.

The 21-year-old looks a powerful central midfielder who is creative and combative in midfield and hopefully will add goals to his game under manager Rafa Benitez.

Mikel has suffered from a bad back, and since he has been out of the side, we have not done well in losing four games in a row.

But on Tuesday night when Mikel started the game we did well to get the point and come back from 2-0 down to 2-2.

Mikel Merino – not 100% yet

Mikel is likely to start at Stamford Bridge this afternoon, and hopefully, he can have an excellent game for us.

If he does that we could even get something out of this game.

But our defensive play has to be a lot better than it was on Tuesday night.

This is what Mikel has said this week as reported in the local papers:

“My fitness is improving,” “I am not at 100%  yet, but I am here to help the team. It doesn’t matter if I am a little bit injured or 100%  good, I will still give everything I can on the pitch.”

“Sometimes, things do not go as you would want, but the important thing is that I feel better every time I play.”

“I can feel my fitness coming back. I am not at 100% yet, either with my back or physically with my fitness, but I am improving and I am happy with that.”

“I think the fight we showed in the last game is the most important thing that a team can have,”

“That kind of mentality and the way we fought for each ball is what you have to have if you want to achieve anything.

“We did not lose our mind even though we were 2-0 behind. We kept fighting, and that is the spirit this team has. We have to keep going showing that character now.

“We know it will be a really hard game at the weekend, and we will have to do a lot of working and a lot of running. But we will be going there with a positive result behind us, looking to play positive football.

“We might have to make a few adjustments in defense because we are letting in too many goals, but we showed some good signs to come back at West Brom and we know what we have to do.”

We have to defend very well today if we are to get anything at all at Stamford Bridge this afternoon.

How Will Newcastle Fare At Chelsea?

View Results
Loading ... Loading ...

Comments welcome.

43 comments so far

  • Lindisfarne

    Dec 2, 2017 at 10:16 AM

    Comment #1


  • Lindisfarne

    Dec 2, 2017 at 10:17 AM

    Comment #2

    Bloody tough League Final

  • Vask

    Dec 2, 2017 at 10:20 AM

    Comment #3

    On telly against a massive club, Chelsea should count themsels lucky, its not every week you get to play the mighty newcastle united.

  • Jib

    Dec 2, 2017 at 10:21 AM

    Comment #4

    I agree with Lee Ryder (for once)
    Today all the pressure is on Conté

  • Mindshaft

    Dec 2, 2017 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #5

    Difficult to see us scoring today no matter who plays – imagine Perez will start simply for the fact he actually defends from the front , same with joselu, mitro on for last 20 if we’re still in the game

  • c-dog

    Dec 2, 2017 at 10:25 AM

    Comment #6

    Don’t say that, not Josiére

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Dec 2, 2017 at 10:27 AM

    Comment #7

    Good and sensible words from Rafa is the previous thread!

  • Mindshaft

    Dec 2, 2017 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #8

    Sorry c-dog, wouldn’t be my choice but I think he follows Rafa’s orders whereas mitro doesn’t or is too thick to understand what Rafa’s telling him

  • Geordie-john

    Dec 2, 2017 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #9

    I think we might just be up for this one, With it being one of the gaffers previous clubs . It would be nice.

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Dec 2, 2017 at 10:33 AM

    Comment #10

    *is = in

  • magpie6699

    Dec 2, 2017 at 10:34 AM

    Comment #11

    I’m glad others are able to be more optimistic than me. I’m just thinking about the defence that shipped 5 goals against Watford and WBA coming up against Hazard, Wilian etc. I’m just hoping our goal difference doesn’t take a hammering.

  • c-dog

    Dec 2, 2017 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #12

    Even Gayle

  • c-dog

    Dec 2, 2017 at 10:41 AM

    Comment #13

    To be fair we’ve picked up our points Ayoze and The Jos playing. Think as Newcastle fans we’ve got it deep within us to expect a class CF.

    In The Jos we trust…

  • Laurent Robert 32

    Dec 2, 2017 at 10:52 AM

    Comment #14

    Today will b difficult, but hopefully we can perform and get something.

    Everyone has to chip in with goals, not just the forwards.

    I like Shelvey a lot. He should score a lot more with his shooting capability.

  • catchy in norway

    Dec 2, 2017 at 10:54 AM

    Comment #15

    im not quite sure what Rafa is going on about in the last post. in the stats that he is looking at, we attack quite evenly 35% down the left 29% through the middle 36% down the right.

    we average 13,1 shots per game, which is 8th best but with only 13 goals we are 13th and to make it a little worse we are about 16/17 in converting those chances.

    no goals at all from counter attacks

    8 from open play
    4 set pieces
    1 own goal.
    7% of our goals are inside the 6yd box 11th
    46% of our goals are inside the 18yd box 18th
    47% of our goals are from outside the box 19th

    Boll possession is 45% 16th

    pass completion 74% 16th with both Brighton and Huddersfield slightly above on both.

    Aerials won is 22% 4 best

    we are 4th best with the ball in the middle of the pitch yet 15th in the final 3rd.

    now looking at all those stats from the prem games so far, it tells me our forward line isn’t and hasn’t worked. and we would rather shoot from distance. it tells me that we seem to start in good positions in MF but the ball is not sticking to the forwards and our MF have no confidence in the forwards.

    yes stats can be manipulated, but you would have to look at only a few of them to get what YOU are looking for, but i have tried to add as many different stats as possible to show the whole story..

    Rafa must see a whole different thing in training to continue playing and picking the teams he does.

    and like i have said before, maybe he is doing this on purpose to force Ashley into selling the club, putting fear into him of another relegation, then thing would make some sense

  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Dec 2, 2017 at 10:55 AM

    Comment #16

    Anyone going to London today to cheer on the lads?


  • jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:00 AM

    Comment #17

    Catchy…we are definitely setup way to defensive an expecting our wide players to both being a threat going forward and to babysit our fullbacks…at a cost of course!

    And then there’s the #10 conundrum! Unbelievably ineffective regardless of whom is deployed there…

    And lastly but most certainly not the least there’s our forward situation. He cannot score goals and he cannot assist goals!

    Either change all this or at least change the whole setup to optimise the current output!

    I am no WC manager but shouldn’t really be a requirement here…

  • Laurent Robert 32

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:07 AM

    Comment #18

    Catchy, fair analysis.

  • GeordieTwo

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:09 AM

    Comment #19

    Where there’s a will there’s a way. The lads have to stay focused. Discipline in attack and defense. HWTL!!!

  • GeordieTwo

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:10 AM

    Comment #20

    Nice work catchy by the way @15!

  • Kebabacus

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #21

    Shelvey needs to be given an extended run behind Mitro/Gayle (Joselu needs to be put out to pasture on the fields behind the training ground).

    Shelvey should be our 10 because:

    A. He has a great shot on him and should score a fair few.
    B. The closer he is to the opposition goal, the less likely he is to try the Hollywood pass.

    Pace would have to come from the flanks.


    Yedlin Lejuene Clarke Mbemba

    Ritchie Merino Hayden Aarons



  • toonbrother

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:17 AM

    Comment #22

    Without Lascelles this match is game is a non starter
    if atsu is fit
    he and murphy must start
    Ritchie on the bench

  • GeordieTwo

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:18 AM

    Comment #23

    Still can’t believe Parsnip hired Johnny C.! What was he thinking? Strange days…..

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #24


    The stats man – If possible do you know how many gaols we have conceded the 5 minutes before half time and the 10 minutes after half time.

    Wouldn’t be suprised if it is more than half in this period

  • GeordieTwo

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #25

    No Murphy please. He’s just not ready yet. Has been poor and gives the ball away far too easily. Go with Aarons Rafa. And the big dog of course. Please sir, can we have more big dog?

  • Kebabacus

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #26

    Ritchie got 2 assists against WBA. No way he’ll be on the bench. He makes 75% of our goals.

  • GeordieTwo

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:20 AM

    Comment #27

    I like your lineup and formation against Chelsea Kebabacus.

  • GeordieTwo

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:22 AM

    Comment #28

    Also well said jesper @17. You’ve got your thinking cap on today mate!

  • GeordieTwo

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:23 AM

    Comment #29

    How long will Parsnip last? I’m guessing about a season and a half.

  • GeordieTwo

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:24 AM

    Comment #30

    The bloggings are wild and wooly this morning lads. Keep it up!

  • Kebabacus

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:29 AM

    Comment #31

    GeordieTwo: I’d love to see Rafa try something different as this game is pretty much a free hit. Won’t happen though!

  • posada

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:31 AM

    Comment #32

    Someone was on and defended Yedlin re West Brom first goal. Seemed to think it was all Ritchies fault.
    Looked at it again in slow mo.
    First thing is who you mark is simple if each side plays 4/4/2. Our fullback marks their winger. Our winger covers any runs from their FB.
    But teams won’t keep it simple for you.
    Just before they score WBA have three at the back. 5 covering the whole width of the pitch and 2 in advanced positions.
    The player we would like to think of as their winger has come short and inside. Yedlin has to hold a line so someone has to cover him. Ritchie is. Gibbs gets out wide posing us a problem.
    Ritchie can’t mark 2 players.
    Thing is Yedlin tries to intercept the ball. Could/should have just defended the situation.
    Easy with hindsight.
    Thing is though Watford stuffed us with the same tactic. We have no answer to it, not so far anyway.
    Do I have a point. Well that comes down to opinions as ever.
    I know one thing for sure. Every team will target us with that tactic until we sort it out.

  • GeordieTwo

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #33

    I suspect you’re right Kebabacus mate. Rafa doesn’t do sudden changes. I hope we see less of Hoser Loo and more of the big dog though.

  • catchy in norway

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:33 AM

    Comment #34


    MIN 41-50 we have conceded 5 goals and scored 0
    MIN 81-90 we have scored 3 and conceded 1

    first half scored 5 conceded 6
    second half scored 8 conceded 13

  • GeordieTwo

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:34 AM

    Comment #35

    Well thought out posada @32.

  • toonbrother

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:34 AM

    Comment #36

    Diame over Hayden? We are FUUUUUCKED

  • Vask

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:34 AM

    Comment #37

    Manquillo at rb. Interesting to see how it works out for him in his correct pisition. Gayle uptop. Good to see some changes.

  • GeordieTwo

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:34 AM

    Comment #38

    That’s the kind of wild and wooly business I’m talking about posada!

  • toonbrother

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #39

    No Lascelles. This game is over

  • GeordieTwo

    Dec 2, 2017 at 11:36 AM

    Comment #40

    Catchy it looks like minutes 41-50 are deadly for us. Let’s just have the Ref drop those minutes oot of the match altogether.


You must log in to post a comment.