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This Could Be Newcastle’s Best Team To Get Something At The Etihad

Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie are still injured and will not play tomorrow at the Etihad Stadium.

And Isaac Hayden will be serving the last of his three-match ban and will be available for our next game in two weeks at home to Arsenal.

We’re sure Rafa will again play five at the back and Jamaal Lascelles is available – so we think Rafa could leave Fabian Schar out of the side to make way for the captain.

That’s tough on Fabian and maybe Rafa will keep the same back five from last Saturday – since they did so well in that game.

It would not be a huge surprise if Rafa keeps the same back five as last week and has Lascelles on the bench.

Jamaal Lascelles – could return tomorrow

Here’s the side we think Rafa will choose for the game at Manchester City tomorrow in a 4-5-1 formation:

Yedlin Lascelles (c) Fernandez Clark Dummett
Atsu Ki Diame Kenedy

Rondon looked good in the short time he was on the pitch and scored a nice goal to open his account at Newcastle.

On the right wing, the greater experience of Christian Atsu should win him the starting position over Jacob Murphy – in Matt Ritchie’s absence.

We hope Kenedy on the left wing can get into this game tomorrow.

What’s your team for tomorrow afternoon?

Three in four fans think we will lose this game.

How Will Newcastle Fare At Manchester City?

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Comments welcome.

137 comments so far

  • jane

    Aug 31, 2018 at 10:59 PM

    Comment #81

    we made good signings this summer even if they didn’t cost much, it’s still early days.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Aug 31, 2018 at 11:04 PM

    Comment #82

    I know that from eleven years of false promises and from what Rafa said, live, on air, recorded for your perusal about the transfer policy.

  • jane

    Aug 31, 2018 at 11:06 PM

    Comment #83

    Rafa said that did he? that’s what you heard!

  • Mister Tuff

    Aug 31, 2018 at 11:06 PM

    Comment #84

    Jib – stop making on you are a woman for Gods sake!

  • jane

    Aug 31, 2018 at 11:08 PM

    Comment #85

    transfers are surely complex but you seem to have this child like simple explanation.

  • jane

    Aug 31, 2018 at 11:13 PM

    Comment #86

    “transfers are surely complex”

    like Jib hey Mr Tufty

  • Our Toon

    Aug 31, 2018 at 11:13 PM

    Comment #87

    Fans expect to much from the likes of muto, it’ll take him a season to adjust to the English game and more importantly it was his first start.

    Disappointing midweek performance, we had the quality players but haven’t a clue how to create chances, merino should have been kept on in my opinion but never mind

  • Jail for Ashley

    Aug 31, 2018 at 11:16 PM

    Comment #89

    Our Toon,
    But he had a release clause inserted by the clueless Rafa who is given FULL control over transfers.

  • fresh sarnie

    Aug 31, 2018 at 11:18 PM

    Comment #90

    Gayle was class in the champ but either confidence was lost or skill was not good enough for the prem, I seriously thought he would of done well last season though. Shame. Muto though seems to have the mould of a Bellamy type player, that gets me excited. Shouldn’t be played as a 10.
    Hope It was just a confidence thing for Gayle and after a stint at the baggies he comes back full of swagger

  • Munster Mag

    Aug 31, 2018 at 11:24 PM

    Comment #91

    Sutton, jail thinks Rafa is infallible. It works for him. You won’t change him. I’m still waiting to see any non positive analysis from him in respect of Cardiff or forest. Maybe that means than he’s a better nufc fan than you, who knows?! I think we can get 2-0 or less from city tomorrow and a lift in spirits. Forest was a really bad result though and Rafa acting like Mark Hughes, being surprised that we lost, is fooling nobody. Tomorrow is a new game though. Best of luck Rafa and the lads

  • Jail for Ashley

    Aug 31, 2018 at 11:26 PM

    Comment #92

    fresh sarnie,
    I had my reservations about Gayle in the PL as I said on here the season before last. But he earned the right to prove himself and he got that chance. Personally, I’m very grateful to what he done in the Champo but not good enough as a PL striker, the leagues have been full of them over the years.

  • Pitmatic

    Aug 31, 2018 at 11:27 PM

    Comment #93

    I always considered possession stats a waste of time anyway, but only on Monday did I discover that they’re calculated as a percentage of total completed passes. I’d assumed they referred to relative durations of possession – still kind of meaningless, but at least relevant to the maxim that the opposition can’t hurt you if have the ball. Was anyone else labouring under the same illusion?

    Basically, you could hold on to the ball – and enjoy a territorial advantage – for a full two minutes say, without making any kind of dent in possession stats. (For example: goal kick; cleared long up field; headed out by opposition; delayed throw; collected, challenged by defender; another throw; collected; solo run up flank, challenged by defender; corner; headed behind by defender; delay; another corner; etc. etc. In such a passage you might have only a handful of completed passes, which could be negated stats-wise by five seconds of opposition tippy tapa in the centre circle, whilst essentially having control of the game for a reasonable period of the game.)

    I think something along these lines skewed the possession stats in the Chelsea game, especially given that our main attacking options were either long balls up to Rondon, or solo breaks from Murphy. I missed the first few minutes, but watched us enjoy a very comfortable opening 20 minutes or so, in which we seemed to be giving as much as we got. So I couldn’t really believe my eyes when they flashed up possession stats showing over 70% for Chelsea during that period. It just didn’t match the actual experience of the game. Admittedly they were far more dominant after the break, but I just don’t understand the narrative that has been created around that game and our performance.

    Looking forward to seeing more of these pointless stats wheeled out tomorrow, whatever the score, as an opportunity to trash Rafa’s tactics. You’d think it was the end of football. Maybe they should start deducting points or something…

  • Our Toon

    Aug 31, 2018 at 11:31 PM

    Comment #94


    We all knew it would be a tough season, fans need to realise that we aren’t the force we once were so players asking for clauses shouldn’t come as a surprise.

    Any ambitious player will want to use us as a stepping stone, a manager never inserts a release clause it’s the player and his agent that put that into a contract. So whoever says rafa is clueless for that hasn’t got a clue

  • jane

    Aug 31, 2018 at 11:31 PM

    Comment #95

    “Was anyone else labouring under the same illusion?”

    me! interesting

  • Jail for Ashley

    Aug 31, 2018 at 11:35 PM

    Comment #96

    Read my post earlier, If Rafa had of been backed and we were doing shite then for sure he deserves criticism. He hasn’t been, he’s been shat on, I can’t understand why you can’t see that?

  • Jail for Ashley

    Aug 31, 2018 at 11:36 PM

    Comment #97

    I’d be gutted if I found out you were real!

  • stan anderson

    Sep 1, 2018 at 12:12 AM

    Comment #98

    Did anyone expect a better start than we have had.
    No ambition from the owner as usual from the slug.

  • Our Toon

    Sep 1, 2018 at 12:32 AM

    Comment #99


    The only thing I’ve been disappointed with is the lack of ideas going forward, the tactics at home against Chelsea. No team should ever play like that at home.

  • toon kk

    Sep 1, 2018 at 12:36 AM

    Comment #100

    Confidence is already low in our team, along with negative football, low chances on goal and no cutting edge.
    January transfer window is our only hope or we’ll be relegated Mr Ashley.

  • RobLeenio

    Sep 1, 2018 at 1:11 AM

    Comment #101

    Pitmatic, great analysis from a different perspective from anyone else of the Chelsea match. I do appreciate a bit of original thought.

    I had no idea that was how possession stats were calculated. Seems a bit cr@p, tbh, for all the reasons you highlighted. I thought it was based on rough time in possession as the name suggests.

    Anyway, thanks for highlighting.

  • RobLeenio

    Sep 1, 2018 at 1:34 AM

    Comment #102

    I think Chi Onwurah’s intervention in the running of NUFC is the single most positive thing that could have happened for the fans. As a shadow minister, she has connections, a National profile, respect and gravity which cannot be matched by any pundit, fan or journalist, no matter how sincere they are. As a Geordie and a fan of NUFC, nobody can accuse her of simply doing this as an exercise in popularity or to curry favour with her constituents.

    Her questions to the BBC will require an answer. If the BBC executive leadership do not have a ready answer, they will have to find one, which will require an investigation. As a publicly funded body, they cannot be seen to be favouring a particular brand over any other and if Sports Direct are benefiting from their Premier League coverage without paying like other brands, this will lead to questions to the Premier League and the FA.

    It’s an indirect attack on Sport’s Direct and on Ashley, which will serve to increase the pressure on both parties and may well make the football World sit up and pay attention.

    I also think this is just the start from Ms Onwurah as I feel certain she has plenty of other tricks up her sleeve.

  • Veltman

    Sep 1, 2018 at 6:20 AM

    Comment #103

    Not fan of either Richard Keys or Andy Gray but used to enjoy their pl show on bein sport couple of years ago, along with Andy Kerr and the superb Nigel Spackman.I do agree with Gray though that most owners or businessmen do not want to come to the north.They prefer to invest in London, Manchester or Liverpool.
    Either that is the main stumbling block or he doesn’t want to sell at all.

  • ilovetoon8788

    Sep 1, 2018 at 6:53 AM

    Comment #104


    Newcastle 0 Man City 5.

  • sing in the corner

    Sep 1, 2018 at 7:10 AM

    Comment #105

    Yeah you are right to make that analysis.. The media and sections of our own fans who blame Rafa were very quick, as always, to hammer Rafa and the team with possession stats.
    I said similar soon after Chelsea, but didn’t flesh out the detail like you did so well.
    Posts get lost among fans who are either rightly angry or point scoring, or hammering each other with insults, but there are those that try to look at it objectively where possible. Well done.

  • Jib

    Sep 1, 2018 at 7:20 AM

    Comment #106

    Miles Starforth
    Rafa Benitez says there’s “plenty of time” for him to patch up his relationship
    with Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley. Benitez met Ashley in the summer
    for talks over a transfer budget and his contract.

  • hibbit

    Sep 1, 2018 at 7:22 AM

    Comment #107

    Apologies if this has already had an an airing but it’s well worth a read.
    Chi Onwurah is certainly trying to put pressure on Ashley and SD and should be applauded for it


  • Jib

    Sep 1, 2018 at 7:24 AM

    Comment #108
  • Lindisfarne

    Sep 1, 2018 at 7:27 AM

    Comment #109

    Do not get your hopes up about the BBC, they will pass the buck on to the Premier league. They will then say there are not any rules being broken as there is nothing to prevent free advertising. For example the UNICEF Barcelona shirt, although that is a legitimate charity and not a jumble sale dressed up as a shop.

  • hibbit

    Sep 1, 2018 at 7:30 AM

    Comment #110

    and why does that matter like me others might have missed it ???

  • Lindisfarne

    Sep 1, 2018 at 7:38 AM

    Comment #111

    Whilst i am fully behind the MPs petition for more transparency, i wonder about the practicality as having greater detail of the NUFC accounts will not reveal anything new.

  • Lindisfarne

    Sep 1, 2018 at 7:42 AM

    Comment #112

    I can not imagine there would be a remit to foresically annalise the accounts of all companies connected to football club owners.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Sep 1, 2018 at 7:46 AM

    Comment #113

    How did Veltmans English just become flawless overnight???

  • Lindisfarne

    Sep 1, 2018 at 7:52 AM

    Comment #114

    However the club shop, shirts and logo-ed products is a very good starting point for financial investigation, whilst being very time consuming and frustrating to both parties.

  • sing in the corner

    Sep 1, 2018 at 7:53 AM

    Comment #115

    Well this is older

    sing in the corner
    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:17 AM
    Comment #12
    Possession / completed passes stats being widely used to batter NUFC and Rafa are a load of hot air. Hundreds of 5-10 yard passes in areas not doing a damn thing but keeping the ball. Tiki taka.. basically boring, posturing and going nowhere but can be used to make a loaded point if you want to I guess.

    Just to qualify..
    I was sat in the Gallowgate last season, v Man City, witnessed one of the most unattractive, defensive displays by a Newcastle team ever. It was horrible to watch, they had the ball almost exclusively. Dogged defending, you bet. Did it frustrate City, Sky watchers round the world and idiot pundits? Absolutely.
    We came on strong last 10-15 mins and nearly got the draw we set out to get, against stellar opposition.
    Rafa works out the percentages, make no mistake he knows what he is doing with what he has at his disposal. He will apply it all his nous and bigger picture thinking tonight. But that doesn’t mean it will succeed, it means it will give us the best chance we have in my opinion.

  • Lindisfarne

    Sep 1, 2018 at 7:54 AM

    Comment #116


    Based on the reverse of my own experience, Veltman must be getting more sober.

  • Jib

    Sep 1, 2018 at 8:08 AM

    Comment #117

    Anyone find these 2 acions by the MP for Newcastle central
    Weirdly dichotomous ?

    She penned a parliamentary petition demanding Mike Ashley
    pump more cash into the club.

    Ms Onwurah complained to the Culture Secretary: “About the corrupting
    influence of excessive financialisation in the beautiful game.”


    as me owld granny would have said

    “mek ya mind up hinny”

  • Jib

    Sep 1, 2018 at 8:09 AM

    Comment #118

    actions even

  • hibbit

    Sep 1, 2018 at 8:11 AM

    Comment #119

    any pressure that can be brought to bare on Ashley and SD by Chi Onwurah can only be a good thing

  • Lindisfarne

    Sep 1, 2018 at 8:15 AM

    Comment #120

    The recording of possession would be an interesting debate and extend into nonpossession and possibly match timing. But in regards to Rafa bashing I feel it is a low punch argument that shows disregard to a lot of ‘giant killing’ evidence.


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