With Newcastle United two weeks into an enforced three week break, we thought it an ideal time to ask some of the regular/irregular writers on The Mag, the important questions of the day.
Only seven weeks of the season remaining and so many talking points, including a very busy/interesting summer ahead.
Newcastle United, yet again, appear to be at a real crossroads…
Comments at the end always welcome.
First up is Jonathan Drape-Comyn:
If Newcastle beat Huddersfield do you think that is safety pretty much sorted? Alternatively, would defeat, or even a draw maybe, put Newcastle back in big trouble, considering it is quite a tough set of matches that remain?
No definitely not. It will be another big step towards safety, but it will only put us on 35 points which come the end of the season won’t be enough to stay up. Of course it is highly unlikely that we will lose 7 in a row after that but you just never know. This is a side who went 9 games (including 8 defeats) without winning earlier in the season.
A win would be massive, but I don’t think relegation survival will be sorted until it is actually sorted.
3 positive words that describe Newcastle United at the moment?
Solid. Form. Together.
3 negative words that describe Newcastle United at the moment?
I honestly can’t think of three. There isn’t much to be negative about at the moment. The squad is moving in the right direction, everyone is playing well, and there has been a big improvement in some of the players who I have been critical of this season such as Gayle, Perez and Lejeune.
We are in good form, the only teams we have lost to since the start of December are Chelsea, Man City (twice) and Liverpool… giving the context of this season, you can’t ask for much more from the team than what we have got in 2018 in my opinion.
Jamaal Lascelles and Jonjo Shelvey not in England squad – discuss.
Lascelles should be in the England squad for me. I am not going to argue with the inclusion of the Burnley players because they have done well this season, but how Alfie Mawson gets in there ahead of Lascelles is a very strange one for me. I include Joe Gomez in that too.
As for Shelvey, I am of the opposite opinion. I don’t think he has done anywhere near enough to be in the squad. Recently he has put in two brilliant performances against Man United and Southampton, but that is not enough to get you in the squad (or at least it shouldn’t be enough).
I know the likes of Livermore are in there ahead of Shelvey, so I see the argument as to why people think Shelvey should be in instead of him. However, based on his form over the past few seasons, his attitude, disciplinary record etc. he wouldn’t be in there if I was picking the team.
Aleksandar Mitrovic – What is his level and are there any circumstances where Rafa Benitez might be convinced by him?
Better than Championship that’s for sure!
It wouldn’t surprise me if he was playing Champions League football for a half decent team in a few years time. I just don’t think Rafa fancies him at all. It doesn’t make him a bad player, or not good enough for Newcastle.
He definitely is good enough, and for me, is a better centre forward than Gayle or Joselu. However, if the manager doesn’t fancy you, or you don’t fit into his plans, then what can you do?
Just a case of being at the right club at the wrong time for Mitro I think.
Alan Pardew, Sam Allardyce, John Carver and Steve McClaren…if you had to choose, in which order would you have them back as Newcastle Manager? (No opting out of this question!)
- John Carver.
- Steve McClaren
- Alan Pardew
- Sam Allardyce
The live TV games for April were announced at the end of February. Then suddenly on Thursday (22 March) the Everton game has been moved to a Monday night and fans are only entitled to their ticket money back if they can’t/won’t go now, with no offer to cover non-refundable money already paid for travel and accommodation. Sky get a live game and both Newcastle and Everton bank an extra £1.1m each. Is this situation acceptable?
Of course it isn’t acceptable but it doesn’t look like fans have any power to do anything about it.
Especially at Newcastle at the moment, fans are scrambling for as many away points as possible, it means that someone is always going to take your place.
I still haven’t worked out what I am going to do for the Everton game now, persuading someone to drive is probably going to be the only option.
Football fans are treated badly all over the UK, by the TV companies, the FA, the police, the government, and in some cases by their own club – things have to change, but from my own experiences, unlike the fans in Germany, and even at Celtic… English football fans just don’t have the appetite to fight the system.
Your choice of the three Premier League relegation strugglers, in order, that you’d like to see go down?
- West Ham
- West Brom
The Diame/Shelvey partnership has been a big plus in recent games, do you see this as simply a bonus for the remainder of this season, or one that could be more long-term as first choice?
Judging both players on their form in 2018, especially Diame, I don’t see why they can’t be starting the first game of next season (in the PL). On the other hand, we shouldn’t be setting Diame and Shelvey as the standard in centre midfield.
For me, those two players, plus Merino, should be the absolute minimum standard we should be hoping for in that position if we are to have a decent side.
Looking ahead to the summer, which three positions in the starting eleven are the priorities for improvement?
- Centre Forward.
- Two fullbacks (two back ups – or two players to provide proper competition to Yedlin and Dummett)
When the 2018/19 season kicks off what do you think is the most likely scenario, Ashley here but Rafa gone, Rafa here and Ashley having sold up, or both of them still at St James Park?
If we stay up then both of them here at St James Park.
If we go down, then there is no way Rafa will be here.
Either way, come September, I think Mike Ashley will still be here.
You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn