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Rafa Likely To Start This Side On Saturday Against Hammers

Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey will be fit for the game against West Ham on Saturday at home, but Paul Dummett is unlikely to have recovered from his hamstring injury.

We would be surprised if Rafa makes any changes to the starting lineup after the terrific 2-1 win and display at Turf Moor on Monday night.

Ki Sung-yueng and Fabian Schar have come into the side for the injured Shelvey and Lascelles and have performed brilliantly in the last three games – which have all been wins.

They are both making a claim to become the starters for the side, and both are making an excellent job of it.

Fabian Schar – has been in outstanding form in last three games

Ki has looked full of class in the middle of the park, and Fabian Schar seems like the perfect partner for the impressive Argentine center-back Federico Fernandez – who doesn’t always get the praise he deserves.

Rafa had asked his fringe players to make it difficult for him to pick the starting eleven and Fabian and Ki have both obliged rather quickly.

Good for them and great for the team.

It would be really something if we can make it four wins in a row on Saturday – that’s what we are hoping for.

So here’s the side we expect Rafa to start against the Hammers on Saturday afternoon – in his usual 4-2-3-1 formation.

Yedlin Schar Fernandez Clark (c)
Ki Diame
Ritchie Perez Kenedy

What team would you start on Saturday?

Note to myself – must remember to get those blood pressure pills ready – just in case we win yet again.


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Comments welcome.

47 comments so far

  • jazzyp

    Nov 29, 2018 at 9:46 AM

    Comment #1

    If Tammy Abraham had signed for NUFC, he’d have finished top-half in the Premier League and worked under a world-class manager. Instead, he chose to get relegated with Swansea and we got Joselu. No one won in that situation.

  • Jib

    Nov 29, 2018 at 9:50 AM

    Comment #2

    Ed’s got the starting side pretty much spot on.
    I think we’ll see Lascelles and Shelvey come
    on at some stage to get some minutes under
    their belts.

  • RobLeenio

    Nov 29, 2018 at 9:50 AM

    Comment #3

    I see the jazzyp is finally returning to the blog – good to see….

  • RobLeenio

    Nov 29, 2018 at 9:54 AM

    Comment #4

    I think we all see Lascelles as a defensive enforcer with limited skill on the ball. I think Schaer and Lejeune need someone like him to play alongside as they are perhaps less dominant in the box but have a great deal to offer with the ball at their feet.

    Fernandez, however, seems to combine both skillsets – hard and aggressive and with good skills on the ball. He could be the first name on the teamsheet, ahead of Lascelles even, for the next 5 years.

  • jazzyp

    Nov 29, 2018 at 9:55 AM

    Comment #5


    Morning matey
    Although I read the blog everyday bud I had to pull myself away because of a certain poster using child rape as a way to win an argument, And that was the final straw for me on here. No matter what context that is used in should never ever be brought into any spectra…End of

  • jazzyp

    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:04 AM

    Comment #6

    R.e Almiron transfer! Would you not be sceptical paying £25m for a player from the mls!. Personally don’t see Mashley sanctioning such a deal but we can all live in hope eh lads

  • toon22

    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #7

    Not a chance

    We average 3 million or less for a striker over the last 11years

    Where did the money go ?

  • toon22

    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #8

    JIB seems to love the fact we have a super cheap squad

    It’s every supporters dream

  • jazzyp

    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:13 AM

    Comment #9


    Come on man..Where is the Ashley lover in you?? Don’t you know he has the best interest of the club at heart

  • Oldgit1

    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:15 AM

    Comment #10

    Looking at the fixtures listed on the previous thread 7 matches in a month plus the 2nd Jan. hope our squad is strong enough esp with matches that are only three days apart. Believe this will be a period where Rafa will mix up the team as he did when we were in the championship.

    It will be a good time to play Rafa bingo as there will be some surprising line-ups.

  • RobLeenio

    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:16 AM

    Comment #11

    jazzyp, I’ve said before I think Almiron looks lightweight. We see how Perez is brushed off the ball easily at times, I think the same could happen to Almiron.

    That said, he’s got the skills no doubt. If Rafa sanctioned the move, I’d welcome the lad with open arms, particularly as it could potentially signal a change in attitude from our illustrious owner.

    I’m still talking up Josef Martinez, Atlanta’s striker and the guy who lays on a lot of Almiron’s goals. He plays with Rondon for Venezuela and is a proper bull – 5ft 7 but built like a tank. Defo wouldn’t be knocked off the ball and with plenty of skills too. It wouldn’t surprise me if the media have got this one wrong and he was our actual target to play up front with Rondon.

  • Mo Drysdale

    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #12


  • Jib

    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:21 AM

    Comment #13

    I love the fact we have a DEFENSIVE squad
    (bit of froggy word blindness there)
    that stands comparison with most in the PL
    the price is mentioned merely as a surprising
    By the way snotface – You don’t fire up a bunch
    of Anti Ashley fanatics at the Irish club and not
    use them on social media

  • hibbit

    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:22 AM

    Comment #14

    good to see you back jazzyp hope your well not much changed on here though 😀

    and there’s no chance of us paying 25 m for a player never mind a player from the MLS :'(

  • Mindshaft

    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:25 AM

    Comment #15

    From previous post I think 12 points from those games is very achievable, Everton , Liverpool away I think we’ll get nothing, maybe a point away to Watford and the man utd game depends which manure turn up
    On the other hand we could win them all
    Interesting to see what Rafa does with returning lascelles / shelvey – be very tough on Schar, Fernandez or Ki if they were to be dropped.

  • jazzyp

    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:27 AM

    Comment #16


    Cheers mate and yeah I agree I don’t see us paying that sort of money..Ever why Mikey boy owns us.Think it is more political spiel coming from the dictators that be bringing false hope again as every transfer window moves closer.

    Has anyone any news on Benitez future yet??? Wondered if I had missed any good news!!

  • Rotonda heights

    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:28 AM

    Comment #17

    Classic Jib

    ”There’s an element of snide nastiness”

    With you it’s a full blown bl–dy orchestra you total hypocrite.

  • jazzyp

    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #18


    Maybe move Shar out to the left to replace Clark.I know he scored but he always seems way off the pace to me or slow to react.

  • hibbit

    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #19

    pure and simple PR bullshit instigated by Bishop ^^’

  • RobLeenio

    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #20

    Interesting that Freddie Woodman seems to be going to Leeds rather than Celtic or Arsenal. I think he’ll get more game time at Leeds, but the temptation to link up with his Dad at Arsenal must be strong.

    Not that I think it will necessarily happen. He was on the bench at the weekend with Darlow injured, Rafa obviously trusts him ahead of Elliott, its feasible Elliott and Darlow could be sold and Woodman and Harker provide the backup to M Dubs for the second half of the season.

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:39 AM

    Comment #21

    Just looking at Eds list of fixtures for December thought I would look at all the teams including the TOON below us December /January in which each team plays 11 games – nearly a third of the season crammed in two months

    The next ten days could be quite significant for a lot of teams – 3 games in 7/8 days.

    And we have a great chance to get three decent results with having two at home – West Ham, Everton and Wolves where we are capable of getting something from each game if so would put us in a great position.

    Never mind us having tough fixtures in January – Southampton could well be cast adrift going on form

    Newcastle United v West Ham United
    Everton v Newcastle United
    Newcastle United v Wolverhampton Wanderers
    Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United
    Newcastle United v Fulham
    Liverpool v Newcastle United
    Watford v Newcastle United

    Newcastle United v Manchester United
    Chelsea v Newcastle United
    Newcastle United v Cardiff City
    Newcastle United v Manchester City

    Newcastle United v West Ham United
    West Ham United v Cardiff City
    West Ham United v Crystal Palace
    Fulham v West Ham United
    West Ham United v Watford
    Southampton v West Ham United
    Burnley v West Ham United

    West Ham United v Brighton & Hove Albion
    West Ham United v Arsenal
    AFC Bournemouth v West Ham United
    Wolverhampton Wanderers v West Ham United

    Huddersfield Town v Brighton & Hove Albion
    AFC Bournemouth v Huddersfield Town
    Arsenal v Huddersfield Town
    Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United
    Huddersfield Town v Southampton
    Manchester United v Huddersfield Town
    Fulham v Huddersfield Town

    Huddersfield Town v Burnley
    Cardiff City v Huddersfield Town
    Huddersfield Town v Manchester City
    Huddersfield Town v Everton

    Crystal Palace v Burnley
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Crystal Palace
    West Ham United v Crystal Palace
    Crystal Palace v Leicester City
    Manchester City v Crystal Palace
    Crystal Palace v Cardiff City
    Crystal Palacev Chelsea

    Wolverhampton Wanderers v Crystal Palace
    Crystal Palace v Watford
    Liverpool v Crystal Palace
    Southampton v Crystal Palace

    Crystal Palace v Burnley
    Burnley v Liverpool
    Burnley v Brighton & Hove Albion
    Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley
    Arsenal v Burnley
    Burnley v Everton
    Burnley v West Ham United

    Huddersfield Town v Burnley
    Burnley v Fulham
    Watford v Burnley
    Manchester United v Burnley

    Southampton v Manchester United
    Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton
    Cardiff City v Southampton
    Southampton v Arsenal
    Huddersfield Town v Southampton
    Southampton v West Ham United
    Southampton v Manchester City

    Chelsea v Southampton
    Leicester City v Southampton
    Southampton v Everton
    Southampton v Crystal Palace

    Cardiff City v Wolverhampton Wanderers
    West Ham United v Cardiff City
    Cardiff City v Southampton
    Watford v Crystal Palace
    Cardiff City v Manchester United
    Crystal Palace v Cardiff City
    Leicester City v Cardiff City

    Cardiff City v Tottenham Hotspur
    Cardiff City v Huddersfield Town
    Newcastle United v Cardiff City
    Arsenal v Cardiff City

    Chelsea v Fulham
    Fulham v Leicester City
    Manchester United v Fulham
    Fulham v West Ham United
    Newcastle United v Fulham
    Fulham v Huddersfield Town

    Arsenal v Fulham
    Burnley v Fulham
    Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur
    Fulham v Brighton & Hove Albion

  • Mag52

    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:39 AM

    Comment #22

    The way things look at the moment Shelvey and Lascelles will have to accept a place on the subs bench with Ki and Schar doing such a good job as their replacements.
    It tends to put into perspective those who got more than a bit miffed when Shelvey was left out of the England set up. He’s good on his day, but not maybe the star he’s sometimes cracked up to be.

  • jazzyp

    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #23


    I can see why Leeds want young Woodman and think if he gets the No1 spot for half a season would be a good move for him to gain experience at a passionate club like ours

    Speaking ahead of Saturday’s Bristol City clash, Marcelo Bielsa announced that Leeds have been hit with something of an injury crisis.
    Jamal Blackman has returned to Chelsea following his season-ending tibia injury, just as he was due to usurp Bailey Peacock-Farrell in goal for Leeds. To make matters worse, Peacock-Farrell has a knee problem and will also be out for the Bristol City match.

    Leeds could look to bring in an emergency loan, but in the short-term, with Bristol City coming up on Saturday, Bielsa will choose between academy product Will Huffer and Polish goalkeeper Kamil Miazek, who was brought in on a free transfer last October

  • Jib

    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #24

    I think the week at Benton goes something like this :
    First day back , go through with the players what
    was good and bad about their performance in the
    last game (while still fresh in their minds)
    Then after that focus on the next opponents in depth
    for example how different West Ham’s usual back four
    of Diop Zabableta Cresswell Balbuena will be different
    from Burnley’s back four on Monday of Lowton Long Mee Taylor
    The latter – recruits from the land of giants – West Ham smaller
    and more skillful.

    This sort of stuff and how they perform in training has more
    of an impact on Rafa’s selection than some sort of loyalty
    to those picked the previous match.

  • jazzyp

    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #25

    Palace creating a singing section right behind the goal. ManCity asking their fans for their thoughts on safe standing and where it should be. What’s the thoughts of NUFC fans? Where should we put a safe standing section?

    Gotta be the Gallowgate corner for me as that’s where most of the noise comes from in the ground

  • curmon

    Nov 29, 2018 at 11:08 AM

    Comment #26

    Rafa did not select Schar and Ki, he was forced to use them because of injuries to Shelvey and Lascelles. So by sheer chance Rafa found out that the two players he had been ignoring were better than those he favoured, culminating in three wins on the trot. Good management or Good luck. I rest my case. What we need now is an injury to Perez so he can find a lucky replacement ! Anyone will be preferred !

  • RobLeenio

    Nov 29, 2018 at 11:11 AM

    Comment #27

    curmon “Rafa did not select Schar and Ki” – of course he did, he bought them and then put them in his match day squad. They had both also played in previous Premier League matches.

    I don’t recognise you and always like to encourage new posters (apologies if you’ve posted before and I just haven’t seen / remembered) but you’re going to have to do better than that one.

  • Jib

    Nov 29, 2018 at 11:22 AM

    Comment #28

    Guilty of repeating mis-information
    that gets regularly recycled
    Ki SY was on the bench for our first
    2 PL games then played the full 90 minutes
    in the Chelsea and Man City games
    (both 2-1 defeats)
    Schar also played in the Chelsea match (26 Aug)
    for 80 minutes.

    Someone posts false crap then others just repeat it
    until it’s accepted as gospel – it’s very irritating

  • Mattroge

    Nov 29, 2018 at 11:40 AM

    Comment #29

    The most frustrating aspect for myself at this point is that we’re not very far away from troubling the European places. What has cost us in the past & almost cost us on Monday night is not being clinical enough.

    Unfortunately clinical goalscorers are the most expensive to buy & unless you get lucky you generally get what you pay for. In our case that translates to a player who has only scored goals at Real Madrid B, a player with an underwhelming Bundesliga record & a player- who we don’t own- who’s best PL return is nine goals.

    Realistically where do we go from here? At the moment we’re being propped up by hard work & Rafa’s tactical/defensive nous & organisation. Without him I believe we’d just about stay up but I believe it would be too close for comfort.

  • Optimistic Panda

    Nov 29, 2018 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #30


    I read about Nickleaon heading over to the states to see Almiron speak to his club etc last night and wasn’t sure.

    I can’t see Ashley paying £25m for any player never mind one from the MLS. Then there’s the wages, with that fee the lad would want a decent wage and the club cant/won’t compete with Arsenal etc.

    It seems pointless Nickleson going over there to me, if he has gone you’d think there was something in the story but i can’t see it.

  • RobLeenio

    Nov 29, 2018 at 12:02 PM

    Comment #31

    Mattroge, strikers have been the problem area for us for years. Even last season, we didn’t score many goals but not for the want of chances. Gayle and the Hoss were just not putting them away.

    I have to say I’ve been more impressed with Joselu this term. He scored a couple of fine goals early season and was unlucky not to score vs Burnley – two inches to the left and that ball would have bounced over the line but it was a well struck shot, hit early and with confidence, a great improvement on other times he’s had only the keeper to beat.

  • curmon

    Nov 29, 2018 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #32

    I am afraid that you guys miss the point !

  • jazzyp

    Nov 29, 2018 at 12:19 PM

    Comment #33


    If he has made a trip stateside then hopefully it’s in the best interest for Nufc,Whatever that may be mate.I like most very much doubt it will be to outlay 25 big ones on a player

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Nov 29, 2018 at 12:27 PM

    Comment #34

    Wouldn’t surprise me if we are actually after someone else who is a bit cheaper who is their left back for example?

    Almiron sort of reminds me of Ben Arfa when we first signed him before the injury!! A bit lightweight but with the pace and tricks to get away from his marker could he be a right wing replacement for Richie as opposed to a no 10?

  • RobLeenio

    Nov 29, 2018 at 12:36 PM

    Comment #35

    curmon, I think I hear you loud and clear

    Jan 2, 2017 at 6:20 PM
    Comment #29
    simple perez is spanish same as rafa

    Aug 11, 2018 at 12:22 PM
    Comment #56
    Looks as though this is Rafa’s revenge for not being backed in the transfer market, unless Fatash has instructed Rafa to lose against the team he supports.
    Seriously how can anyone who professes to be a football manager play Joselu when you have two better strikers sat on the bench.

  • Jib

    Nov 29, 2018 at 12:37 PM

    Comment #36

    Almiron is principally an AM but
    can also play either wing
    12 goals and 13 assists in 32 games no matter the level
    is not to be sniffed at

  • Nostra Magpie

    Nov 29, 2018 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #37

    It would be so amusing if MA surprised us all and actually got Almiron, not giving him a pass just in case one of the leopards wants to pounce on me. Maybe Rafa has said this is the player I really want for the number 10 spot, so I better get him.

  • Jib

    Nov 29, 2018 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #38

    The thought of the sparkling Almiron
    playing in front of the pinpoint passing
    of Shelvey the calmness of Ki and the
    industry of the Diamé perpetual motion
    machine with Kenedy and Ritchie as
    wing backs is rather mouthwatering.

  • Jib

    Nov 29, 2018 at 12:55 PM

    Comment #39
  • RobLeenio

    Nov 29, 2018 at 1:28 PM

    Comment #40

    Jib, your link’s broken


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