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Opinion

Rafa Benitez team v West Brom…I wouldn’t mind standing next to Joselu when Armageddon comes

4 years ago
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Joselu has been named in the Newcastle United starting 11 for the 12th time in a row.

The Newcastle team v West Brom has just been confirmed and despite Rafa Benitez making five changes, the former Stoke reserve still keeps his place.

Incredible.

This is who Rafa Benitez starts with:

Darlow, Yedlin, Clark, Lejeune, Mbemba, Ritchie, Merino, Hayden, Murphy, Perez, Joselu

and the Subs:

Elliot, Manquillo, Shelvey, Diame, Aarons, Gayle, Mitrovic

Not saying that fans will turn on Rafa Benitez but this team selection is a big statement, if it then goes pear-shaped, against a West Brom team who are currently fourth bottom and three points behind Newcastle..

You can understand the manager’s frustration but I don’t think it is ever a good sign to see a Newcastle boss dropping our two most talented attacking players (Shelvey and Gayle), at the same time as two of the back five (Elliot and Manquillo).

Diame was always going to go the distance after being hopeless once again on Saturday, Hayden back from suspension and Merino expected to be back to full fitness.

It smacks very much of desperation and maybe desperate is how Rafa really feels after watching what has gone on in recent weeks. You can’t blame him can you?

However, if wholesale changes had to be made then it is still quite mad that Joselu retains his place.

You can’t help but feel that this is Rafa digging his heels in and showing he won’t be dictated to by anybody, especially fans picking the team…

The old joke used to be that you should be standing next to Terry McDermott when Armageddon happens, as no matter how many changes of manager at Newcastle United he always somehow survived and kept a job at the club.

Joselu though has surely taken over Terry Mac’s mantle in that department, playing tonight after yet another really poor showing against Watford.

I can understand with the games only a few days apart that Rafa Benitez maybe felt he had to use his squad to an extent anyway but making five changes goes way beyond that.

Doing it against a West Brom team who are arguably the weakest team we have to play this month, means it is an even bigger gamble to go so extreme with the changes.

I really really hope that Rafa is proved right and we are all smiles by 10pm tonight…because if it does all go wrong then I would hate to see what the backlash will be from the media, as well as a small minority of Newcastle fans, no doubt some claiming he has lost the plot.

In Rafa we trust!
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