Monday afternoon has seen Newcastle reserves take on their West Brom counterparts, with Yoan Gouffran as a defensive midfielder…

Five days before the first team meet Crystal Palace, it now looks very likely that Steve McClaren is looking to reunite the partnership that faced Manchester City.

With Jack Colback missing through injury, McClaren paired Gouffran with Vurnon Anita in the centre of the pitch at the Etihad back at the start of October.

Manchester City were just not at it for around 40 minutes but once they woke up, Newcastle simply collapsed.

Six goals followed in only 20 minutes before Gouffran was at last dragged off by Steve McClaren.

His partnership with Anita had proved disastrous, the pair of them going missing as soon as the screw was turned by City.

Surely we would never see this monstrous experiment repeated…

With Colback out injured and now joined by the woeful Cheick Tiote, the tactic of playing Gini Wijnaldum in that role totally backfired as well on Saturday once Tiote had gone off. Wijnaldum himself even saying that he doesn’t like playing there.

You might ask, well what other options are there to playing Yoan Gouffran?

Well if Mehdi Abeid hadn’t been given away for a pittance then he’d have been ideal…in fact I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t have preferred Cheick Tiote to be given away in the summer and Abeid retained. With almost as many also wanting to keep the Algerian international ahead of Vurnon Anita as well.

Recent days have also seen Gael Bigirimana loaned out to Coventry. When he first arrived at St James Park he looked a really promising player and it is a mystery as to why he has been given absolutely no opportunities in these past two years or more.

I would 100% rather have Bigirimana in the centre of midfield than Yoan Gouffran.

The thought of Yohan Cabaye up against Gouffran is like some sick kind of joke and represents just how far we have fallen behind other clubs.

For the record, it was a strong reserve team that went up against West Brom today; Karl Darlow, Jamaal Lascelles and Siem de Jong all featuring, as well as Yoan Gouffran.

It also saw 16 year old local lad Lewis McNall make his first start at this level after impressing with 10 goals in 10 games for the Newcastle Under 18s.

McNall proved to be the most lively for the home side and went close on a number of occasions to breaking the deadlock.

Whilst Siem de Jong also showed some nice touches despite still missing the turn of pace that is needed in the Premier League.

As for Yoan Gouffran? It was a very Yoan Gouffran performance…roll on Saturday.

Final Score: Newcastle United Under 21s 0 West Brom Under 21s 0

Newcastle lined up:

Darlow, Sterry, Laidler, Williams (Gallacher 70), Lascelles, Satka, Barlaser, Gouffran, de Jong, Smith, McNall