How Can the Magpies Steal Vital Points from the Foxes tonight?

First things first; what a week for Newcastle United this has been with the correct decision to relieve McClaren of his duties followed by the most ambitious managerial appointment since that of Sir Bobby Robson.

Even if they didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory by taking an age to put Steve out of his misery, it was a tremendous piece of business to acquire the services of one of the most respected managers on the continent. The question now is, can Newcastle get anything from the game at Leicester and how will Rafa set out his new side against the league leaders?

The Monday night fixture has at least given Rafa a couple of extra days to assess his squad ahead of the clash and Benitez has been photographed on the training ground putting his new players through their paces.

Injuries will certainly play their part in Rafa’s first team selection although there are interesting stories suggesting that some players who had been injured during McClaren’s final days, have now declared themselves fit.

Newcastle’s main concerns lie in defence where it seems all three left backs are injured, though Mbabu was one of those back in training. Colo was also seen in his training gear and Mbemba may be in line to return to the starting line-up.



The lack of defensive options does appear to hinder Benitez as he looks to stifle a Leicester side who have lost just one of their fourteen home games this season. The obvious concern to Benitez will be the speed and direct nature of the Foxes’ attack.

Newcastle’s back line simply could not cope with Bournemouth running at them last weekend and the thought of Mahrez and Vardy bearing down on an exposed Elliot and his frame had us all waking up in cold sweats before Rafa’s appointment offered some timely comfort.

Liverpool under Benitez were solid at the back and Newcastle will need to be compact if they are to get anything from the game.

It’s higher up the field where Rafa has plenty of options to solve Newcastle’s away day goal-scoring blues. We have lost six straight away games and have been dire on the road all season.

It will be intriguing to see whether Benitez goes for two up-front or deploys Gini or even De Jong in the hole.

De Jong is lacking match fitness and is more likely to start on the bench but he could be an important player for Benitez in the run-in.

Where will he play Sissoko? Some sections have been calling for the big Frenchman to be dropped. I have never really been sure about playing Sissoko out on the right wing, I don’t think that’s his natural position.

Rafa might be the one who moves big Moussa back inside and gets the best out of him. Who will get the nod up front? Mitro needs support and Perez would struggle on his own so Benitez may choose to play both and hopefully Townsend will be fit enough to start to provide that width and dribbling ability to the side.

It will be fascinating to see what Benitez does tactically and motivationally. We will certainly learn a lot from the game tomorrow and I, for one, cannot wait. Come on the Toon!

71 thoughts on “How Can the Magpies Steal Vital Points from the Foxes tonight?

  1. Good read SRF. I have no idea what Rafa will do today. He reckons organising the defense is the easiest thing to do in football – but he has not managed our lot before! If he can get a result today it will send shockwaves through the squad they will suddenly realise they are capable of playing football again. A heavy loss and I dread to think what it will do to us leading up to the Derby. Reckon he will simply make us compact and hard to break down, as a narrow loss is acceptable and does not damage the squads fragile mindset. Going for 1-0 Leicester orba draw if we bring our A game and show some passion for a change.

      (Quote)

  2. Just posted this on the last thread but…

    I said a few weeks ago when McClaren was still in charge that every club has a specialist goalkeeping coach but only a handful have had strikers coaches: Off the top of my head I can think of Sheringham doing it at West Ham, Ferdinand at Spurs & Saunders at SJP under Souness.

    IMO there could be no one better to mentor Mitrovic, Perez, Armstrong, Toney, Heardman ETC.
    than Shearer. Maybe a couple of days a week so he wouldn’t have to give up his TV gig.

      (Quote)

  3. I agree CC. Shearer and Ashley obviously dontvgetbon, but if he sees Ashley actually wants to push the club forward now, he might be willing to step into the regime. It all comes down to whether we survive or not because that will be the deciding factor in whether we go with a new model (Rafa running the show) or the old head coach system to keep it nice and ‘cost wffective’ the fizzy pop league.

      (Quote)

  4. I have very little optimism for this one even though I’ve enjoyed a lift in
    spirits the last few days. Rafa likes 4231 but we’ve seen how that looks
    all season. I’d go 451 or 541 and hope to stifle them deep and score a
    breakaway. If we leave space at the back at all then Vardy and Mahrez
    will punish us. Mahrez has a total of 30 assists or goals in 28 games.
    That’s 1 every game! Maybe Mbabu can bottle him the way he did
    Pedro and Hazard against Chelsea.
    Or maybe they’ll get Keeganesque jitters and blow it!

      (Quote)

  5. We need to go and defend deep and hit them on the break. They love to play counter attacking football using Vardy’s pace. Lets see if they can break two lines of defence down. We should have pace on the flanks and try to hit them on the break and hope Mitro can at least hold the ball up.

      (Quote)

  6. If we get a result tonight it will send shock waves right through the bottom of the league, Sham, let alone the squad!

      (Quote)

  7. 5 4 1 for me tonight, tighten up the defence, frustrate Leicester and score on the counter if we can. Sounds easier said than done.

      (Quote)

  8. I saw on Sky that Leicester have had more possession than the opposition 3 times this season, In 3 of their last 4 home games. Where they have drawn two & scraped a late winner against Norwich. Teams have finally started to sit off them, stopping them playing on the counter.

    If we can hang in there, who knows

      (Quote)

  9. If our wide men are fit enough then I’d like to see us go 4-1-4-1:

    ———— Elliott ————-
    Jan – Saylor – Las – Colback
    ———– Shelvey ————
    Towns – Siss – Gini – Aarons
    ———– Mitrovic ———–

    Playing with that speed & width might just slow Mahrez & Albrighton down. The 3 in the middle should cope with Kante & Drinkwater.

    I would hope that Gini would get forward in attack & support Mitrovic and I’d want our wide men getting in there too.

    The only change I would maybe make would be to put either Doumbia or Perez up front instead of Mitrovic – as I think they would be more likely to run in behind their defence and create problems that way. But that could be a substitution to make.

      (Quote)

  10. Well the fantasy footy league has been tough this year and for a while it looked touch and go – by my ladsbhave shown Bournemouthesque never say die spirit and it looks like tonight they are about the secure the 3 points needed to take them to 39 points and pretty much guarantee survival. Well done lads, done my proud. This season survival, next season, the Top 8 🙂 Hitman and Axel have a huge task in their hands to get their necks above the water line.

      (Quote)

  11. Must be solid at the back and play with a deep line or they’ll be in behind quick.
    If we pack the deep midfield out to stifle them and hit them on the break we’ll have our best chances to score.
    For that reason I’d play Perez up top as he has the pace and vision to catch onto Shelveys passing, with Gini in support.
    Sharpy, that 4-1-4-1 looks decent actually, would be nice to get Gini Shelvey and Moussa in the middle at the same time.

      (Quote)

  12. YouYew – the other change maybe would be to drop Sissoko, move Shelvey up there and put a more defence player in there – Tiote or Anita maybe – or put Anita at LB and Colback in the middle.

    I just think we have to try and stop the ball getting up to Vardy or Mahrez. If we outnumber them in midfield it at least gives us a chance.

      (Quote)

  13. I had similar thoughts. The prob with leaving Shelvey too deep is we lose one of our main attacking assets.
    I’m sure Rafa will have it right.

      (Quote)

  14. We need to sit back and let them break us down. They stretch teams and then rely on their pace. Let’s see if they can break us down.

    I’d play two deep central midfielders in Shelvey and Tiote if not Saviet. He played quite well against Everyon but then got the hook. I’m not sure about Gini or Sissoko to be honest as neither are great defensively and neither have given us anything at all going forward away from home.

      (Quote)

  15. YouYew – I would probably move him up thinking about it. He’s a bit aggressive in his tackling and would probably give quite a few freekicks away the box and in dangerous areas.
    I forgot about Saivet as well. Getting that midfield right may take a little time to see who works best together.

      (Quote)

  16. Thanks SRF, good read.
    I’m hoping he sets us up to sit back and frustrate them, a draw would be great as every point counts right now. If we can walk away 0.0 it does the goal difference the world of good, goal difference could yet play a big role. The onus is on them to get the win with Spuds winning and no one expects us to win, so I say make it hard to break us down and we may just get lucky. It’s difficult for Rafa just now with so many defensive injuries and the left back situation is dire. Need to crowd out Mehraz every time he gets on the ball, don’t give him the chance to feed Vardy or score.

      (Quote)

  17. Sharpy: I would be surprised if Rafa plays Aarons. But then again, I am surprised we got Rafa so anything is possible.

    Your midfield of Townsend, Gini, Sissoko and Aarons may be the fastest ever put out for a PL match.

      (Quote)

  18. we need a cautious approach this evening, with a compact defensive midfield who can protect our back four.
    Norwich did it perfectly at home against Man City at the weekend, Crystal Palace do it all the time too, packing the defence.
    Avoid dead ball situations, corners and free kicks around the box, at all costs, and we just might sneak a point.
    Stupidly try and take the game to them and they will beat us. Though I don’t think Rafa is that daft…

      (Quote)

  19. I would suggest that Rafa organises a training game midweek but I am afraid. The last ones were 6-0 to the Mackems and I think 4-1 to Hartlepool.

      (Quote)

  20. 0-0 tonight? Sounds like the sun’s brought the optimism out.
    This is not one of the games I expected to get anything from – but football remains a funny old game.
    Norwich 0 City 0

      (Quote)

  21. Fucking Sky!!!!

    Just read on there site ‘Benitez starting stats’ and they say he has never lost his opening game. Well if that’s not a jinx I don’t know what is!!.

    But if it remains true and we avoid defeat, then I wish we’d have brought him in before the Sunderland game now 😆

      (Quote)

  22. Eric – I’d be surprised if he went with Aarons & Townsend too mate. In fact if he did, I’d be pretty convinced he got it from me on this very site!! 😆

    I would like to see it though, coz I reckon if those 3 in the could strike the balance of defence and attack, I think that could well be a very dangerous 11.

      (Quote)

  23. Kimtoon: Carra must have the most annoying voice in the history of voices but what he says usually makes sense.

      (Quote)

  24. I’d possibly choose Saivet if fit, on account that he’s accustomed to playing full back also, which will come in handy to help out on the left and to cover on the right when Daryl goes for one of his jollies

      (Quote)

  25. I seem to remember reading that when he joined us?
    Could well be wrong, and stand to be corrected.
    My memory is not what it once was

      (Quote)

  26. Be interesting to see the team news, especially because some of them have made “miraculous recoveries”. I doubt Rafa will change things that much for his first game, but you never know.

    I read that Saivet had played left wing before switching to defensive mid. Of course, Schteve preferred Gouffy as our left winger and our real left winger (Aarons) as fullback.

      (Quote)

  27. Leicester very rarely have more possession than the opposition. This points to their game plan of counter attacking football. If we lose a goal to a counter attack it will be poor form.

    If we can keep it tight and goaless until 70 mins then they are really under pressure and they will need to commit more and more forward. Lets hope they are panicking at the end and we can hold out for a draw or snatch a late one on the break.

    Anything but a tanking!

      (Quote)

  28. That’ll be the same Perez that Mc thought was better to drop coz he was young and needed protecting.

    Yet Rafa comes in and says he’s showing more maturity that some of the senior players.

    I think the Ayoze/Rafa relationship could be a thing of beauty.

      (Quote)

  29. SSN have put up Leicesters home stats

    Played 14
    Won 8
    Lost 1
    Drew 5

    Based on that I think a win may be difficult.
    But a draw is a real possibility.

      (Quote)

  30. The one thing I will demand as a supporter is that they do not run get out run by Leicester. There is no excuse for that.

      (Quote)

  31. Hey guys,

    We couldn’t get the numbered comments working but have found an alternative! Simply click ‘Quote’ when you want to reply to a particular comment!

    Thoughts?

    CC:
    Just posted this on the last thread but…

    I said a few weeks ago when McClaren was still in charge that every club has a specialist goalkeeping coach but only a handful have had strikers coaches: Off the top of my head I can think of Sheringham doing it at West Ham, Ferdinand at Spurs & Saunders at SJP under Souness.

    IMO there could be no one better to mentor Mitrovic, Perez, Armstrong, Toney, Heardman ETC.
    than Shearer. Maybe a couple of days a week so he wouldn’t have to give up his TV gig.

      (Quote)

  32. Also forward to this, the number of comments that display at once is now 75 instead of 50 – some people wanted 100 so we decided to compromise 🙂

    We still feel going forward this is better to help with loading times of the site and keep things looking cleaner.

    LASTLY, I’d like to politely ask everyone to refrain from foul language when commenting. I’ve noticed a few people ‘effin and jeffin’ recently and don’t wish it to put off people coming to the site.

    Andy The Magpie:
    Hey guys,

    We couldn’t get the numbered comments working but have found an alternative! Simply click ‘Quote’ when you want to reply to a particular comment!

    Thoughts?

      (Quote)

  33. just been chatting to my neighbours (massive Pool fans) reckon Rafa is a brilliant tactician who will sort us out defensively so long as the players have the heart for the fight.

      (Quote)

  34. Kimtoon: good to hear that about Rafa. Hopefully he can whip Lascelles into shape because he seems to be a decent footballer and has the physical attributes but gets a bit of a brain fart now and again.

      (Quote)

  35. You should set up a swear jar and put a £1 in for every time you swear – should be able to buy Newcastle off Ashley in no time!

    kimtoon:
    Andy, that’ll me😳:roll:in the sin bin then.

      (Quote)

  36. Eric Sykes:
    Kimtoon: good to hear that about Rafa. Hopefully he can whip Lascelles into shape because he seems to be a decent footballer and has the physical attributes but gets a bit of a brain fart now and again.

    He’s in good company with Saylor then 😆

      (Quote)

  37. Andy I just used it, works ok for me. Mind you the swearing ban could be a big issue next sunday, especially if we’re losing 😉

      (Quote)

  38. Oh really? I can see it directly below the Prem League table

    Shamrock: Although… I can’t see the latest comments in the side bar yet?

      (Quote)

  39. No swearing?!!! This is a NUFC blog. How else are we to get our frustration and points across?!

    Anyway like the quote thing.

      (Quote)

  40. Good read SRB before friday I had this game down as a right old thumping. But I wouldn’t be surprised if we get something out of the game now, but aslong as we see an improvement I will be well pleased.

      (Quote)

  41. I’ll give you an A for the quote function, a B for increasing comment limit to 75 and a D for the latest comments bit on the sidebar. Overall I think you are on course to graduate but abbit more graft and you are looking at honours. Oh and a B for the caption facility, but can we wrap text around it? If so, you get an A. 🙂

      (Quote)

  42. Totally fine with a swearing ban but hopefully it is not like American TV where they can’t even say “hell” anymore and have to say “heck”.

      (Quote)

  43. They can’t say “damn” over here and have to say “darn”. It is like the country is being run by School Marms.

      (Quote)

  44. Eric Sykes:
    Totally fine with a swearing ban but hopefully it is not like American TV where they can’t even say “hell” anymore and have to say “heck”.

    When I was a lad I got ejected from my class for telling my teacher to sod off. He went bright red with rage. Mental. I explained I was not actually telling him to go take it up the backside, or give it to anybody else – just that it was an expression of disbelief in response to something he had claimed. Did not see his reaction coming at all!

      (Quote)

  45. So Rafa says if we stay up he wants three new players,well that’s defence sorted then thought we would need more than that as I think there will be a few to go,well at least I hope so

      (Quote)

  46. Gonna be tough but Norwich nearly drew and wbrom drew recently.

    I’d be happy with a draw but would like to see an improvement on commitment and ball retention

      (Quote)

  47. Shamrock: When I was a lad I got ejected from my class for telling my teacher to sod off. He went bright red with rage. Mental. I explained I was not actually telling him to go take it up the backside, or give it to anybody else – just that it was an expression of disbelief in response to something he had claimed. Did not see his reaction coming at all!

    I am guessing you didn’t call him a bugger though?

      (Quote)

  48. Me mam would call me buggerlugs. it is quite strange what is considered swearing and what is not. Waiting for the team to be announced. I am expecting a better performance but it has only been 3 days so we cannot expect miracles (yet 🙂 )

      (Quote)

  49. I read a book by Bumble when I was on my hols and he told a story about Shane Warne when he first started commentating (which he is brilliant at btw). He said that the batsman just “[email protected]” that one for 6 and had to be told by the producer he couldn’t use that word.

      (Quote)

  50. Eric Sykes: I am guessing you didn’t call him a bugger though?

    No mate. Just told him I had done bugger all wrong and that I could not be ar££d with his rubbish anymore. Said he could stick his class up his behind and I’d be leaving via the rear.

      (Quote)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green