The penultimate home game of the season and a game that could see us relegate the Baggies – but don’t bank on it being as easy as their league position suggests.
We were all hoping Alan Pardew would’ve been the man to lead West Brom out this weekend, however it’s Darren Moore who will be in Rafa’s opposing dugout – the ex-centre back whose actually helped them regain some form recently (albeit a few months too late!)
They arrive on the back of an impressive 1-0 win at Old Trafford and more recently came back from 2-0 down to get a point from Klopp’s high flying Liverpool.
With them sitting 8 points adrift at the foot of the table, the chances of them pulling off the great escape are incredibly slim, but you’d expect them to put up a fight – with all involved knowing they’ll be officially relegated if they fail to win.
For us, we’ll be hoping for a reaction to Monday’s defeat, ending our run of four straight wins. It was a toothless display lacking in quality and composure, but being back in front of our own fans will help.
Win and it’ll be our FIFTH straight win at St James’ Park – something we mustn’t have done in the Premier League for a long time.
Also worth noting that it will be the last time we see Kenedy at St James’ Park this season, with him being unable to play against parent club Chelsea on the last day of the season.
On the subject of loan men, it’ll be a big day for Islam Slimani. Time is running out for him to impress but a home game with the league’s bottom side would seem like a perfect chance for him to open his account and show just what he’s capable of doing.
Here’s a few players to watch out for:
Jay Rodriguez – There top scorer this season on 11 goals and a player I rate. He’s a bit of a poor mans Harry Kane and has good technique. Will be dangerous if we give him space on the edge of the box.
Salomon Rondon – Doesn’t score enough goals, but he’s very powerful and no slouch either. It’ll be interesting to see how Lascelles handles him.
Matty Phillips – A direct winger and strong runner who’ll give Dummett a few problems IF he turns up.
Chris Brunt – I’m not sure how well he gets about the pitch these days for a central midfielder, but he’s got a wicked left foot strike on him. Hopefully we don’t give away too many needless set pieces or allow him to fire shots in from range.
Predicted West Brom XI – (4-4-2) – Foster– Nyom, Dawson, Hegazy, Gibbs – Phillips, Livermore, Brunt, McClean – Rodriguez, Rondon.
For an inside look into this weekend’s opponents, take a look at the latest edition of the ‘Opposition Opinion’ . A great insight into this weekend’s opponents.
Newcastle – 10th (41 pts) – Last 5 in the league – Won: 4 / Drawn: 0 / Lost: 1
West Brom – 20th (25 pts) – Last 5 in the league – Won: 1 / Drawn: 2 / Lost: 2
Mikel Merino is OUT of this one after being on the receiving end of a ‘bad tackle’ in training according to Rafa. Christian Atsu is also set to miss out once again with a knee problem.
Daniel Sturridge is fit but is unlikely to force his way into the West Brom attack ahead of Rodriguez or Rondon.
Ex-Spurs winger Nacer Chadli is also in contention to make his long-awaited return from a hip problem that’s kept him out for several months.
I’m really not sure what West Brom side will turn up here. They’ve generally been woeful this season, but Darren Moore has got them going (finally!).
They know failure to win will send them down, so I see them going for it and I’m quite certain we’ll see a few goals. I’m quite certain we’ll take all three points if we turn up, but we might be in for a shock if we just arrive expecting to waltz for another win at St James’.
My heart says 3-1 Newcastle and Slimani to fire us to victory on his first start at St James’, but my head’s saying a score draw.
Prediction: Newcastle 2-2 West Brom
Howay the lads!