Newcastle fans are expecting a much changed team on Saturday, the likes of Salomon Rondon, Kenedy and Jonjo Shelvey having been named on the bench against Arsenal.
There was a lot of perspiration in that first half against the Gunners, but little inspiration, Newcastle getting into some decent positions but looking pretty clueless in the final third.
The Cardiff match was a strange one, Rondon’s late arrival saw him spend the whole game on the bench, whilst Kenedy had a shocker, and Shelvey didn’t really come close to imposing himself on the game.
All three (Rondon, Kenedy, Shelvey) could and probably should start at Selhurst Park, because if Newcastle are to have any chance of a comfortable season, they need these three playing well.
February saw Rafa decide on a settled team to try and achieve safety, then helped by a largely injury-free run, Newcastle started to look like a pretty good team.
Without a decent centre-forward as a focus, it is difficult for a team to really get going. The summer saw Salomon Rondon arrive very late and this season has only reminded us that Joselu and Perez aren’t the answer.
I think that if Rondon can play week in week out, then Newcastle can be in a decent position by Christmas, as I think he is one of those players who can make others look better as well.
Can he score goals as well?
The stats show that he has scored only 24 PL goals for West Brom in 94 starts, not the greatest of records.
However, with Malaga it was 25 goals in 57 La Liga starts, plus 33 goals in 54 league starts in Russia.
What you can’t ignore is that all but a handful of those games for the Baggies were when either Pulis or Pardew were in charge, not ideal for anybody, particularly Salomon Rondon.
If he stays fit, I can’t see Rondon failing to get at least double figures for Newcastle in the Premier League, whether that proves enough will depend on others.
Just like last season we once again need the whole team/squad taking responsibility. when it comes to goals.
Salomon Rondon taking to the official club site:
“It’s difficult for the supporters when they are seeing the team near the bottom of the table but everyone knows our skills and that we work really hard.
“This is the Premier League, this is the game, and you have to get focused on the next game.
“The next game for us is Palace, so we have to get the three points.
“I think, in my opinion, you have to get just one win to get the confidence back. We know it’s a difficult game for us away at Palace but we have to improve and do our best.
“Everyone knows, with Crystal Palace, how they play. They have quality players, but we have to impose our game and be efficient when we create chances and score goals.
“The most important thing is the team and our game, and to just be careful when they try to play, because they are really quick on the counter attack. Everyone knows how they play and we know, of course, how we will play.
“It (international break) was good for me because I scored two goals with my national team. Of course, it’s a long flight from Panama, our last game was there, but I’m happy and confident when you score goals there.
“After, it was about being focused and getting back to Newcastle.
“I feel good.
“It’s a long flight, with the jet lag, it’s six hours behind in Panama. So when you arrive here you have to change quickly.
“It’s difficult sometimes because you can’t sleep and things like that but now I’m more settled, so that’s good.
“Every week for me is about preparing and being ready for the game.
“It’s the gaffer’s decision, so you just have to work really, really hard. He chooses the team and I just have to work.
“You have to work really, really hard, just be focussed when the opportunity comes, and try to enjoy it.”