Changes Rafa Could Make For Sunday’s Game At Crystal Palace

Islam Slimani is not fit because of a thigh problem, and we would be surprised if new goalkeeper Martin Dubravka makes his debut on Sunday afternoon in London.

The team played well on Wednesday night against Burnley, but we again missed too many chances and were unable to put the game away.

How many points have those missed chances cost us this season?

It wouldn’t surprise us if we are still a Premier League club this summer if Rafa brings in two top strikers to fix a problem we have had over the last two seasons.

Kenedy – excellent in his debut on Wednesday night

There will probably be a few changes Rafa will make with Murphy coming in for Atsu on the right wing, with the Ghanaian International being ineffective on Wednesday night.

Rafa could even bring back Matt Ritchie in case we get another penalty since that miss by Joselu cost us 2 points on Wednesday.

Mikel Merino still seems to less than 100% fit, and we would expect Jonjo Shelvey to come back to partner the impressive Mo Diame in central midfield.

Joselu will keep his place up front and do battle with the tall defenders Palace have at the back.

May Dwight Gayle can be given a start in place of Ayoze Perez on Sunday?

Here’s a good team Rafa could start on Sunday:

Yedlin Lascelles (c) Clark Dummett
Murphy (Ritchie) Diame Shelvey Kenedy
Joselu Gayle

We’ll hear more from Rafa at his press conference this afternoon.

What would your team be for Sunday?

How Will Newcastle Fare At Crystal Palace?

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Comments welcome.

95 comments so far

  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 2, 2018 at 9:33 AM

    Comment #1

    He’s gone. Get over him.

  • Roger

    Feb 2, 2018 at 9:38 AM

    Comment #2

    Team without Joselu. He can Play in the second Team, eventually he can learn to play soccer.
    He is so bad. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

  • Slank

    Feb 2, 2018 at 9:39 AM

    Comment #3


    Only time (at Fulham) will tell whether Mitrovich is any good.

    He was a prolific scorer at Anderlect, better than Lukaku apparently, and scores regularly for his country. Interestingly there were quite a few clubs who wanted to take him on loan but there was only us who wanted to take Nicolai Jorgensen which makes you wonder.

  • Tsunki

    Feb 2, 2018 at 9:44 AM

    Comment #4

    I might buy one of those sparring hats because this hanging my head against a brick wall is not going to end well.


    1/ Would Benitez jeopardise the season, his reputation, his job and possibly his career at the top level to freeze out a player because he just doesn’t like him do there? Answer = No. That would be recklessly stupid and Benitez doesn’t do either

    2/ Could it possibly be that Mitrovic or his agents were causing trouble and the player was creating an awkward situation to move out of a club where he knew he would be rotated with two players who were no better or probably worse? Answer = A likely scenario given he was quite willing to go on loan anywhere i.e.Fulham.

    3/ Could it be that Mitrovic was part of an economic cull by the Ashley regime to trim the books and that Benitez was severely restricted on use of the player in case he was injured? Answer = Another distinctly possible scenario, given that a raft of other players including the money drain Colback have gone on loan. The wage subsidy and any loan fees certainly offset incoming loanees. There was evidently zero money available for purchases, all the talk about bids for players was half hearted and token.

    I think scenario 1/ is the most unlikely out of all that can be imagined, and is only latched onto by those who can’t seem to work out logically that there are infinitely better explanations with minimal effort applied. Can we leave the “should have played Mitrovic” thing now? Pleeeeease?

  • Tsunki

    Feb 2, 2018 at 9:46 AM

    Comment #5

    Hanging = banging btw

  • Slank

    Feb 2, 2018 at 9:52 AM

    Comment #6

    My team against Palace:

    Yedlin Lascelles Clark Dummitt
    Diame Shelvey
    Murphy Perez Kenedy

    I think Darlow should continue until Dubravka is climatised.

    I’m assuming Slimani is fit.

    I’ve selected Perez as Atsu didn’t look too good against Burnley. Whether that was because he was on the right I’m not sure.

    I’ve selected Shelvey as he has the ability, whereas Merino hasn’t, to play the ball forward very quickly which is essential in a counter attacking formation with quick forwards.

  • JDdubai

    Feb 2, 2018 at 9:54 AM

    Comment #7


    Perez up too as at Stoke, played the role well.
    Ritchie behind him as no other choice suitable, plus worth a look to see if he fits there as has been poor when RW.

  • yitzhak rabin

    Feb 2, 2018 at 9:57 AM

    Comment #8

    Is the water safe yet.

  • Tsunki

    Feb 2, 2018 at 10:01 AM

    Comment #9

    Actually JDubai not a bad shout I’m hoping that Joselu gets a cold or mild case of shingles nothing too bad just enough to er give him er a rest….

  • Bladey

    Feb 2, 2018 at 10:02 AM

    Comment #10

    And I am back

  • posada

    Feb 2, 2018 at 10:03 AM

    Comment #11

    Has the club been sold ?
    No buys.No sales.
    Money saved on loaning out paid for loaning in.
    If Mitro had not gone we would not have done the deal on Slim Shady.
    It’s like the club had to stay in the same position. Retain the same value.

    Perhaps 3 sale deals agreed.
    1) If we stay in the Prem and the TV revenue stays the same.
    2) As at 1 but if the TV money goes up 30% this price is set at an extra 30%.
    3) The price if we are in the Championship.

    I have no information to indicate above. Just trying to make sense of it. Like doing a jigsaw with just half the pieces.
    What else explains it. Something is going on.
    Hope it’s good.
    Having said that it’s a hell of a risk he has taken.
    30M spent wisely would have secured our Prem status.

  • Funki Tsunki

    Feb 2, 2018 at 10:05 AM

    Comment #12

    Shut your mouth tsunki.. Cos its funki time

  • Tsunki

    Feb 2, 2018 at 10:07 AM

    Comment #13

    Yep I just checked and the decorators haven’t been called in to repaint Feyenoords front door, no damage there at all.

    I reckon the Jörgensen “bid” was a rise to placate fans into thinking there was cash to spend on backing Benitez. They lowballed this one deliberately imho and probably would have trashed their skanks if Feyenoord had turned round and said “ok have him” but then he would have “failed to agree terms” or “failed his medical”. He was never destined to come, there was no money being spent, Ashley is battening down the hatches.

  • Tsunki

    Feb 2, 2018 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #14

    Bladeuser does ed know you’re being naughty coming back as a “different” poster? 🙂

  • Spellcheck

    Feb 2, 2018 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #15

    Crack on jail.

  • Tsunki

    Feb 2, 2018 at 10:10 AM

    Comment #16

    Oh great. Not even remotely funny to start with and getting pitiful.

  • OneAlanShearer

    Feb 2, 2018 at 10:11 AM

    Comment #17

    JD – I was thinking about that selection as well. The only reason I’d consider sticking with Joselu is that he has the extra height for Kenedys crosses. Although if Slimani is fit to play then he starts every match in my humble opinion.
    I want to see both Kenedy and Murphy start as their direct play is going to keep palaces full backs in their own half more and they both offer goals and assists. I’m hoping we here Slimani will play a part at rafa’s pre match conference today.
    There was talkie injury would not keep him out of even this match.

  • toon kk

    Feb 2, 2018 at 10:17 AM

    Comment #18

    Mitrovic has gone now, he may of been a lot of fans favourite but he was hardly prolific, he was a good player in our team but Rafa doesn’t Rate him for whatever reason so good luck to him at Fulham, it should be a good move for him.

  • hibbit

    Feb 2, 2018 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #19

    you know when your selling a house it alway has to be tidy just in case you have a surprise viewing
    when your selling a car it has to kept clean and tidy just in case the phone rings and someone wants to pop round
    well that’s exactly what’s happening with the club the club its in selling mode and nothing will divert Ashley from that path , a big spend in this window could have thrown the accounts out of line for weeks was never going to happen with Ashley in this program

  • bettyswallocks

    Feb 2, 2018 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #20

    Tsunki………. I can’t understand why Rafa allowed Mitro to go to Fulham on loan though. He’s a far better prospect than Joselu who has let us down in front of goal far too often. There must be more to this than meets the eye.

  • jimiley

    Feb 2, 2018 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #21

    Thats garbage forward line and has no goals written all over it. Good team??????? Very low expectations these days. It has the worst form in the league over the last 12 games and it is not looking great.
    3 loan signings when you are in relegation trouble says it all about the club. Other relegation candidates have bought large.
    Expecting a lot from a leicester discard. same as its ever been under Ashley

  • yitzhak rabin

    Feb 2, 2018 at 10:41 AM

    Comment #22

    sell off no sold out.

  • toon kk

    Feb 2, 2018 at 10:59 AM

    Comment #23

    Hibbitt @19
    Very true, also if he’d spent big he might as well of taken a lower offer on club, and he won’t do that either!!!!

  • lochinvar

    Feb 2, 2018 at 11:10 AM

    Comment #24

    Mitrovic has gone now….
    On loan
    Don’t be too upset – it’s more a case of this is not Goodbye it’s only Au Revoir

  • Bladey

    Feb 2, 2018 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #25

    I am back as the same poster anybody can change a name
    And I will have and express any opinion I see fit
    It’s the pc and little girls on here who can give criticism but throw there dummies out when they are got at everybody on here knows who they are and most of them reside in Mike’s pocket

  • yitzhak rabin

    Feb 2, 2018 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #26

    He was heard to say on leaving “ill be back asshole”

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Feb 2, 2018 at 11:18 AM

    Comment #27


    That’s the team I would want to see, given that there aren’t a lot of games left, I reckon that unless the Slimani injury is a real one I’d expect Rafa to put him straight into the starting line up.


    Try copying and pasting that code into a binary to text translator, here it is again.

    01001000 01101111 01110111 01100001 01111001 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01010100 01101111 01101111 01101110

  • toon kk

    Feb 2, 2018 at 11:22 AM

    Comment #28

    Not upset in the slightest mate.

  • Rotonda heights

    Feb 2, 2018 at 11:25 AM

    Comment #29


    Lovely to hear from you again. I’m sure I speak for many when I say we’ve missed the charm, wit, intelligence and well thought out and constructive views that you always bestow upon us. Always worth a listen.

  • dig-n-dig22

    Feb 2, 2018 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #30

    Hibbit #19
    Ashley, through not investing early in the Jan transfer window may have committed us to the Championship for a third time, that will most likely reduce the value of NUFC by about 2/3ds “but hey, what’s it matter” at least the accounts didn’t get thrown out of line, some businessman that Ashley!

  • martoon

    Feb 2, 2018 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #31

    EGB @27 That’s ascii codes expressed in binary – you need an ascii to text converter.

  • posada

    Feb 2, 2018 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #32

    What happened to the original Bladeuser, was he binned by Ed ?

    I thought Hibbit had him buried in his front garden with just his bum sticking out so he had somewhere to park his bike.

  • DaveD1000

    Feb 2, 2018 at 11:39 AM

    Comment #33

    I rang that number essex, got a foreign lady offering some to do some weird stuff

  • Bladey

    Feb 2, 2018 at 11:41 AM

    Comment #34

    If I was one of the pc brigade I would think you are being a little sarcastic and
    Maybe I should drop ED a line and get him to put you on the naughty step

  • beefman13

    Feb 2, 2018 at 11:42 AM

    Comment #35

    Team v Crystal Palace, who the fcuk knows, its to daft for words at times, makes no sense.

  • A Pain in the Blog

    Feb 2, 2018 at 11:44 AM

    Comment #37


    I don’t get your original moniker “bladeuser”.

    I can understand that when a boy starts to shave he would be impatient to share this information with the wider community in order to increase his self esteem. But, on reading your posts, I can’t help but come to the conclusion that you have many years to go before requiring a razor blade.

  • Moonraker15

    Feb 2, 2018 at 11:54 AM

    Comment #38

    The loan signings are a definite indication that the club will be sold soon, probably as soon as we’re safe from relegation. Buyers waiting in the wings now; Amanda for sure and one other. Certainly Ashley has no intention of hanging around but he reacted positively when Rafa told him we had to get Slimani, so he is protecting his asset!

  • Munster Mag

    Feb 2, 2018 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #40

    I may have been questioning wtf Mitro wasn’t being given a chance as he did seem to influence games but Slimani seems a decent upgrade. Maybe it could see a return to form of Gayle too?


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