Rafa Benitez has named his side for another crucial game in our attempt (for the fourth season of the last five in the Premier League) to avoid relegation under owner Mike Ashley.
If we go down, it will be the third time in the last nine years, which for a club of Newcastle’s stature is pathetic.
Rafa Benitez and Roy Hodgson
Matt Ritchie, Dwight Gayle, And Jonjo Shelvey come into the side, and new goalkeeper Martin Dubravka is on the bench in place of the unfortunate Rob Elliot.
The defense is unchanged and if we get a penalty today let’s hope Matt can smash it home.
Mikel Merino is dropped as expected – he’s still not 100% fit – and Jonjo Shelvey comes into the side to partner the in-form Mo Diame in central midfield – so it looks a strong side.
We need a solid performance from Jonjo today.
No sign of Joselu today, with Perez and Gayle the two up front striker and Kenedy and Ritchie are on the wings.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) February 4, 2018
This is what Rafa has said about the positioning in the bottom half of the table:
“I realize there are five points between tenth and the drop zone so it is very close, very narrow, and that is sometimes good because you have a lot of teams there.”
“If you have three detached at the bottom it will be easier because you have a bigger distance, but that is not the case.”
“Even if you have a bad result, you carry on, because the next one could be good and then you could be two or three positions higher.”
More than half Newcastle fans think we will win this game this afternoon.
A defeat would be really tough to take.
Howay The Lads!!