In the city centre pubs post-match, supporters had plenty of names when it came to Newcastle players who didn’t deserve to play.

The abject performance against Fulham seeing supporters despair at the performance of many of our team.

Predictably, Jack Colback and Paul Dummett were ‘popular’ choices.

Yes, they were pretty rubbish, but were in good company as none of the starting eleven enhanced their reputation.

It has been the same today, reading what many fans have to say, some reasoned arguments and other just pure vitriol.

Regardless of how badly any Newcastle players did or didn’t play on Saturday, there is one minor problem when it comes to what punters are saying.

It is easy to say this or that player should be dropped but who would take their pace?

Looking at the bench yesterday, who really deserved to start against Fulham, rather than what Rafa Benitez selected?

Rob Elliot hasn’t played a first team game for a year so a massive risk to brink him in at this point.

Jesus Gamez – We have only seen on a handful of occasions and hasn’t looked comfortable.

Grant Hanley – Looks like another Jamaal Lascelles, commanding in the air but struggles with lack of pace and ability on the ball.

Ayoze Perez – Diame’s double in a football-sense, always sounds a more credible choice when he isn’t playing.

Yoan Gouffran – You know what you get with him but what you get is a very average player. Runs around a lot and has done an ok job this season holding down the left hand side – but gives nothing really going forward in terms of creativity.

Aleksandar Mitrovic – Just not up to the job, had one or two good performances this season but even when he comes off the bench he struggles for pace and still hard to work out what are his strengths.

Daryl Murphy – The exception to the rule, four goals in only 400 minutes of Championship football, he was a class above when he came on against Fulham and must surely get a start at Birmingham, hopefully with Dwight Gale rather than instead of him.

Other than Murphy, there is only one other NUFC player who can in any way feel hard done by and that is Chancel Mbemba.

He seemed to become a bit of a scapegoat after the home defeat to Wolves and has made only one Championship start since, when Rafa made wholesale changes against Blackburn at home, days before the cup game at Hull.

He went off and played in the DR Congo matches in the African Cup of Nations so it isn’t injury that’s the problem, not even getting on the bench surely points to something having happened behind the scenes with the Manager.

He was by some distance Newcastle’s best defender in the Premier League last season and nobody can tell me he isn’t more talented than Lascelles, never mind being behind Hanley when it comes to a place amongst the subs.

Still, if he has issues with Rafa then who am I to argue?

Apart from Mbemba and Murphy what of the rest?

Lazaar has looked not up to it on his rare appearances, obviously Yedlin and Hayden are injured at the moment, Matz Sels is now in no-man’s land after wasting his early season chances. Haidara and Sammy Ameobi clearly not good enough..

A bit like booing, calling for Newcastle players to be dropped is pretty unproductive if there is no plan B.

Mind you, I wouldn’t mind seeing Daryl Murphy and Chancel Mbemba starting next Saturday at Birmingham…

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])

Rafa Personalised Gifts  -

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    I couldn`t give a Fling F what`s happened play MBEMBA & drop Lascelles Asap !

  • Rich Lawson

    You’ve answered your own question ! Play Murphy and Gayle up front and Mbemba and Clark at the back v Brum,simples.

  • Bleeding Black & White

    Spot on!

  • Toon Army AZ

    The Birmingham fixture is a good one for making lineup changes. The risk of re-introducing the likes of Mbemba, Murphy, or even Gamez to the starting lineup should be low against a side that is probably just playing out the rest of the season. They are somewhat relegation safe, with no hope of getting into the playoffs.

  • magpiefifer

    It’s a worrying situation – so much for all the pundits talking up how great a squad we have! Ashley’s decision not to allow Rafa to strengthen the squad in January might turn out to be yet another of his calamitous decisions.
    I wasn’t surprised with yesterday’s result,just the manner in which we were outplayed.I’m sure I’ll be accused of a knee-jerk reaction,but I do fear for our chances of promotion.Huddersfield’s and Brighton’s run-ins look fairly comfortable,and if we keep slipping up – especially at home – an automatic spot will be beyond us.We’ve been in the top 2 for most of the season,but it’s where we are on May 7 that counts! If we finish 3rd I can see us playing in the Championship next season – hope I’m totally wrong!!!

  • jack

    Can’t understand why we play negative at home , surely we must play with two strikers at home , Diame doesn’t work behind striker

  • Ollie

    What’s the point in having an extra man deep in Diame when he’s not good enough technically to hold onto the ball.

    Changes I’d make are Yedlin in. Anita for Colback. Need legs in midfield. Colback and Shelvey are an awful combination in that regard. Drop Diame and bring in Murphy for reasons above.

    I’m resigned to the fact that Dummett is in the side to stay. I fear he’ll end up another Ameobi, they’re given a career long after showing their not good enough at that level.

  • nevfur

    Good points. Personally I think Clark and Mbemba leave us lacking in the air at the back and we have to remember how well we did in the three “tough” away games. However it is a bit of a dilemma at home where Lashelles seems to totally lack confidence. Maybe try Hanley there at home. To say Colback and Shelvey doesn’t work totally ignores those “tough” away games although we were far from exciting or dominant in midfield. Would love to see Mbemba replace Colback as holding midfielder on Saturday. Agree it’s time we tried Murphy and Gayle together particularly at home but it should also be safe enough to try it at Brum in preparation for the two home games to follow where six points are imperative. Sorry but after Saturday with Yedlin out I would try Gamez at RB in place of Anita and hopefully his long throws might find Murphy.
    Realistically I think Rafa is unlikely to make wholesale changes. Maybe he is right, he can be more objective than the fans who are panicking and understandably so based on our past, or maybe this time he is wrong. Time will tell.

    • Toon Army AZ

      Like the idea of Mbemba replacing Colback. He played midfield for the DRC during the AFCON and apparently did well.