Back at the end of January before the Blackburn match I looked at the possibility of Newcastle grabbing a Champions League spot.

As a rough guide I used last season’s number of points as a pointer and Arsenal finished in fourth with 68 points. So my question was, with United at that time standing on 36 points,  whether it was possible for Newcastle to pick up 32 points from their final 16 matches?

The answer was yes as I went through each match and my predictions came out at exactly 32 points.

In January I was ridiculed by some but 14 matches into this sequence and with only 2 remaining, thanks to the outstanding win at Chelsea cancelling out the dire defeat at Wigan, Newcastle United are 1 point ahead of schedule.

So only three short of the sixty eight points that were needed last season, Newcastle have two matches to get three points and our ‘predictor’ sees United getting four more.

With Norwich doing the business at Arsenal, if Newcastle can beat Manchester City then on the final weekend 68 points would be enough to put Newcastle top four if Arsenal failed to get anything at West Brom.

Predictions below with outcome in Italics where I got the result wrong….

Blackburn (A) – DRAW (won), Aston Villa (H)  – WIN, Spurs (A) – DEFEAT, Wolves (H) – WIN (draw)

Mackems (H) – WIN (draw), Arsenal (A) – DRAW (lost), Norwich City (H) – WIN, WBA (A) – DRAW (won)

Liverpool (H) – WIN, Swansea (A) – DRAW (won), Bolton (H) – WIN, Chelsea (A) – DEFEAT (WON!)

Stoke City (H) – WIN, Wigan (A) – WIN (lost), Man. City (H) – DRAW, Everton  (A) –  WIN

amacdee 5pts

Some sound thinking Dale and I agree that McWally has to take advantage of the players he's got and build a team around them and not shoving Goof into midfield because there's no one else ;-(

However I would take a leaf out of Fat Sam's book from Monday and go with 3-5-2 as we have more central defenders than full backs and Janmaat is better off losing the shackles of forward runs and gut busting retreats.

I chose De Jong to partner Perez but he'd probably be slightly deeper, prompting Ayoze and helping create some space with some intelligent play (Thats all he's got IMO). Colo still gets the nod if he's told to stay deep and read the game around him. Use the two younger guys as his "legs". 

Tiote or Anita is a sad indictment of where we are right now. I've advocated trying Colo in that role with Lascelles taking over at the back but its too big a jump to make in one week, a possibility though if things get much worse which, I'm afraid to say, is the only possible outcome with McWally in charge.   

amacdee 5pts

Ha ha ha just seen Tiote's out while Haidara is a tentative returnee for Saturday. Anita it is then ? ;-(

spacepyramids 5pts

A question: Could Janmaat, or Mbabu play as a central defensive midfielder in a diamond formation?         Janmaat could use his footballing nous and international pedigree concentrating on defensive responsibilities for a change. I accept we may miss his forays forward.  Mbemba could take over right-back for now.                  

Mbabu looks promising and seems to me quite an elegant player in the making. We would need Haidara  back at left back if Mbabu took this role (not sure when he is back, and I accept he has his deficiencies but hope proper coaching will improve his game.)                                                                                                                     Nothing personal about Colo' but I'd like to see him dropped and a more suitable captain named. Janmaat seems the obvious choice to me.Dummet or Lascelles into central defense. I'm happy to try almost anything at the moment.

amacdee 5pts

@spacepyramids Mbabu is nominally a right back. If pushed he can play central defence then if all else fails, and McWally's up shlte creek, leftback. 

jimbarb 5pts












Janmart is good going forward but his defensive play has been poor this season so try him and Collo in front of the defence.

The Nut Job
The Nut Job 5pts


        Janmaat  Mbemba   Dummy   Mbabu

 Sissoko   Gini   Perez   De Jong   Perez   Thauvin

                           The Mad Seb

it`ll never happen & neither will a win

Mark_Duffin 5pts

I have been wondering about pushing colo into the defensive center midfield role. I would also look at Sissoko,

Wijnaldum and Thauvin in a more fluid midfield where they swap around during the game.

So line up for Palace would then be

                       Perez                              Motrovic

Sissoko                            Wijnaldum                          Thauvin


Mbabu      Dummett/Lascelles              Mbemba               Janmaat


Leemo 5pts

Dummett ahead of Lascelles? 

Yeah, okay.

LeazesEnder 5pts

That is radical.... Elliot as centre forward and two goalkeepers!

Really though I think the problems at the club are more to do with motivation than formation.... how do you motivate a team that the owner has built to have no ambition other than mid-table security?

They are going through the motions of being a football club.... it looks similar to the real thing, I guess only us oldies can see the difference.

The fault lies at the top, the owner and his minions are a bloody disgrace, the coach can re-jig the formation to suit the opposition as Fred Flintstone at Sunderland has but until they realise they are in a drawn out relegation scrap again will the players pride take hold of commitment..... in those not looking to move on!

Deep midfield..... smash and grab..... is the best shot..... agonising to watch..... that's the way it is!

The Nut Job
The Nut Job 5pts


A nice cup of tea & some biscuits at half time plus a pep talk from McMuppet

and Bobs your uncle

Paul Patterson
Paul Patterson 5pts

I'm inclined to agree with the 'direct' approach. Not simply 'long ball', just 'direct'.

It doesn't have to be as negative as it sounds, just getting the ball forward as quickly as possible, ideally out wide, stretch the play and have Wijnaldum, Sissoko etc bombing through the middle in support.

The formation would be 4-3-3 (our last successful one).

      Mitrovic        Perez         Cisse

    Wijnaldum       Anita        Sissoko

Mbabu    Dummett    Mbemba    Janmaat