It will be a relief when we can finally have some football to watch.

The agonies of this summer transfer window have been well covered and little more needs to be said, although I would add that I have no confidence in Mike Ashley allowing us any late positivity in these remaining hours before the Thursday 5pm deadline.

As for the owner himself, like every other Newcastle fan I just wish this blight on our club was at an end.

Instead, the weekend will see the NUFC supporters having no other option than to take the protests up another notch, with demonstrations planned pre-match outside the Sports Direct store in the city centre.

As for Rafa Benitez, he must wondering just exactly he was thinking when agreeing to take on a Newcastle United team back in March 2016, that already had one foot in the Championship.

Not only that but then at the end of that season, the Spaniard agreed to stay on and try to get instant promotion.

Up as champions and then tenth in the Premier League, what could possibly go wrong?

Truth is, that after that very first (summer 2016) transfer window, when Rafa got his Championship promotion players and Mike Ashley got a £40m transfer profit, the transfer windows have been all one way traffic.

Despite Mike Ashley, rather than because of his ‘help’ Rafa Benitez has got on with the job.

This window just as disappointing as the previous three in terms of backing from the owner.

However, has Rafa maybe just managed to pluck a team from amidst the transfer window wreckage, that could just maybe even improve on last season’s tenth?

I think the odds are very much against it but once things have settled, I look at this team below and just wonder if they could deliver…

newcastle united team

Obviously a massive amount depends on how quickly Rondon and Muto fit in and how good they prove to be.

Without quality strikers/goalscorers we found out just how difficult that makes things.

I do look and I see a big upgrade on Gayle and Perez, which gives me hope.

The big weakness of course is if injuries come along, as Newcastle have almost no real decent cover throughout the team/squad.

Darlow could do ok in small spells if Dubravka was missing, whilst Ki Sung-yueng should be able to deputise in the centre of the pitch, but beyond that, I just can’t see it.

The thought of Rondon missing and Joselu ending up playing anywhere as often as last season, brings me out in a cold sweat.

At centre-back we looked relatively ok with Clark and Schar as back-up to Lascelles and Lejuene but with the Frenchman out for all/most of the season now, Clark needs to step up on last season and/or Fabian Schar has to prove a lot better than his £3m price tag, if playing regularly.

Rafa Benitez is said to be desperate to make two more defensive signings before 5pm tomorrow and if he could get an attacking left-back in to compete with Dummett, as well as a centre-back who would look good enough to be first choice, then that improves the picture significantly.

Good luck Rafa!

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  • Milburn_Taylor

    No back up to the first eleven could be suicidal.

  • Magpie_Dane

    I don’t think people are questioning whether the starting XI is good enough, to stay in the Premier League. Problem will be if we can stay free of injuries…

  • mentalman

    I think we’ll see us start with hoss and perez not rondon and muto

  • panther

    Dont know anything about Muto, but Rondon is not gonna get goals, rest of the team looks solid

    • Magpie_Dane

      Think he will get more goals than at WBA. Our style of play is different and should create more chances. Hopefully he will put them away. I’d say +10 goals..

      • panther

        I think Diame and Perez could be key, if they keep the form they had in the last few months of the season, and we dont get too many bad injuries, we may squeeze another mid table finish, and im being ber optomistic in that

        • Milburn_Taylor

          i think Perez will start on Saturday but after that i think he`ll be on the bench

  • Milburn_Taylor

    email from Newcastle, Park Bar & grill Saturday 11th, 2 course meal before the game, executive seating in the Leazes stand, limited edition badges & programmes. £500 + vat per person, i`m on the phone now

    • Leazes.

      Do you get fries with that?

      • Milburn_Taylor

        it didn`t say, ill email Lee Charnley, that address you posted was correct wasn`t it ?

        • Leazes.

          Yes its correct unlike your Coat of arms.

          Email [email protected] [dot]co[dot]uk and complain

          address c/o CEO Mail.

          • Milburn_Taylor

            i just picked the first one, coat of arms

          • Leicester Mag

            Penfolds coat of arms would include a hapless mole lying commatosed

          • Hughie_Gallacher

            Ashley’s would be a snake in the grass surrounded by blood-sucking leeches.

      • Viru leckworth

        You get a black and white bib and your bait cab warmed.

      • Viru leckworth

        Bait can.

    • Leicester Mag

      Got the same offer. Thought of replying fork off but thought they may not fully understand

  • SuperDesHamilton

    4-4-2 doesn’t work in modern football. Only thick old people think it does. It’s not flexible players can’t get from defence to attack & vice versa quick enough

    • Kenny

      Man City played 4-4-2 against united at home last season

      • SuperDesHamilton

        And got beat 3-2

        • Kenny

          did they, terrible

    • LambethMag

      It isn’t 442 It’s 4411, and we played it the whole of last season.

      • SuperDesHamilton

        We played 4-5-1 away & a variation of 4-2-3-1 at home wingers doubling up as inverted wing backs when in transition

        • Ram Kishore

          It’s mostly a variation of 4411 on most matches..
          We were bit flexible while playing 4411 because of that most seem to think we played with 4231 and 451

  • East Durham Mag

    Top scorer on the bench then?

  • Brazilian John

    We really need a defensive midfielder.. Thiago Maia would be perfect!

    • Kenny

      no chance of Ashley paying what they want for him

    • Viru leckworth

      Pie in the sky. Too late for anyone coming in now. Be delighted if I am wrong.

  • Paul Patterson

    So not playing out top goalscorer last season, interesting?

    • Ben Jones

      Strength and depth

      • Kenny

        Eat 💩 Benny 🤡

    • East Durham Mag

      The lad was on fire Paul and was a massive factor in survival and the 10th place. I doubt Rafa will drop him.

      • Foggy

        What aout the first two thirds of the season? Perez was pants.

        • East Durham Mag

          Without him we would have been toast.

  • Jimblag23

    I think we have to hope Schar is better than Clark, I like Ciaran but not sure if he’s to be regularly relied upon in the premier league.
    I also have the dreaded feeling that Diame may slip back into his not so hot old form. I hope not of course and have a slither of positivity that the team has improved from last year.

    • Milburn_Taylor

      I don`t think he`s better than Clark, we will soon find out though.
      i worry about both Diame & Perez`s form

      • Nut

        Schar is an upgrade on Clark, more experienced having played champions league I believe previously too.

        Rafa signed Schar because he saw him take half the Chelsea team especially including Eden Hazard out of play.

        If Schar can show that kind of ability again for us he may well end up being our signing of the season.

        Diame and Perez are confidence players, they need to hit a bit of form to get it up and then they will deliver the goods.

        Perez and Diame if they can carry on the form they showed towards the end of last season then they will be beasts this season.

        • SuperDesHamilton

          That was about 6 years ago when he was coming through at Basel. He’s literally done nowt since

          • Nut

            Maybe Benítez saw something in him he likes he was at the World Cup in a team that made it out of the group stages and into the finals in what was actually quite a tough group remember so he really can’t be as bad as all that.

          • SuperDesHamilton

            When the other options in defence are Djourou or Senderos it really is scrapping the barrel

          • Ram Kishore

            Until 2015 Summer he was at Basel , in all his 3 seasons he was superb..Only after that nothing has turned up as good as Basel

          • SuperDesHamilton

            So 3 years he’s done nothing…that’s a long time

          • Ram Kishore

            Ig so.. but he’s been in teams like Hoffenhiem for two years and Deportivo.. not bad but ok..
            Only time will tell..Better than having Mbemba who wanted out despite showing some quality

          • SuperDesHamilton

            Mbemba from what I gather had a rubbish attitude unfortunately refusing to learn even the basic language to try intergrate with team mates

    • Ram Kishore

      We may squeeze a point if we played like how we did against Porto provided luck favors.
      Who scores the first goal could be pivotal for the game..Especially if it’s Spurs we are struggle for confidence

  • Mxpx

    I don’t see rafa playing muto and rondon both will be considered 9s I believe I think the 10 role is still perez

    • Viru leckworth

      Yes, Rafa has faith in Ayoze. Despite negative comments from some quarters, I rate him and think he will improve further this season.

  • Tweed Mag

    On a positive note, Rafa will use more of the first team this season. He clearly did not rate/want about half a dozen players last season and they did not get a look-in.

  • London_Mag

    This is far better than last year in my opinion. I think perez and clark are both good players and we now have more options in attack. We could do well.
    We will beat Cardiff by 2 and Spurs by 1. Ashley is obviously hoping we lose agaist Spurs.

  • Geordiegiants

    If either of Muto or Rondon get injured for more than a couple of games we are Donald ducked.