West Brom (A) Pre-match thoughts, team news, possible line-ups & score prediction

Another quiet week on Tyneside.

A 1-1 draw with Wolves was tough to take, but what really stung was the missed chances, avoidable nature of their equaliser and costly injuries to Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron.

Not only will both be on the sidelines this Sunday along with Callum Wilson, we’ve had a turbulent week off the pitch after Steve Bruce recklessly decided to throw half the team under the bus after last weekend’s slip up at St James’ Park.

A ‘bust-up’ with Matt Ritchie has been widely reported, the players are believed to be baffled by the lack of training (they’ve been handed days off across three of the past five days!) and Steve Bruce is furious with a certain North-East journalist for writing stories on all of the above.

So, brilliant preparation for without doubt our biggest and most must-win game of the season away to a second bottom West Brom on Sunday…

Come away with the victory and we’ll be SIX points clear of Fulham after 27 games. Lose and West Brom will suddenly be as many points behind us, not to mention the fact Fulham would dump us in the relegation zone should they become the sixth straight side to beat an out of sorts Liverpool side at Anfield.

Given the injury issues and off field drama that’s left us in an almighty mess this week, a win feels unlikely – but pull one out of the bag and our relegation fears could be eased considerably.

Team news

  • Miguel Almiron – Ruled out with a knee injury. Bruce claims he could be back after the international break.
  • Allan Saint-Maximin – Ruled out with a groin injury. Won’t play again this month by the looks.
  • Callum Wilson – Back jogging but still “a little way off” returning according to Bruce.
  • Isaac Hayden – Has an ankle injury but Bruce reckons he’ll be fine for Sunday; providing he comes through our last training session.
  • Emil Krafth – Rated ’50-50′ for this one by the manager after picking up a shin injury.
  • Federico Fernandez – Has “trained all week” (once again) and “might” feature in this one. Hasn’t played since 1-0 loss at Sheffield United.
  • Javier Manquillo – Spotted in light training this week – not that Bruce gave any update on his return in his presser. With Krafth a doubt we could do with him back, however it seems likely this one will come too soon for the Spaniard.
  • Fabian Schar – Remains out with a knee injury as he recovers from surgery. .

Predicted lineup

(4-3-3): Dubravka – Krafth, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett – Willock, Hayden, Shelvey – Joelinton, Gayle, Fraser.

Dummett in, Lewis out – With the latter criticised for allowing a cross to get in that led to Wolves’ equaliser last weekend, I would not be at all surprised if Bruce opted for Dummett. He’s been fit again for several weeks now and put in a heroic cameo to help us get over the line against Southampton.

Fraser in, Saint-Maximin out – The Scot must now been given a regular run in the side, being one of few players at the club capable of offering the quality needed in Wilson, ASM and Almiron’s absence. I can see him starting down the left and tasked to be our creative force.

Gayle in, Almiron out – Based on our lack of No 10’s capable of slotting into that Almiron role, I can see us pushing Gayle up and playing more of a 4-3-3 in the Paraguayan’s absence. He’s barely featured of late, but Gayle knows where the back of the net is at The Hawthorns. This tweak could also see Willock play just ahead of Hayden and Shelvey, giving us a player to support the striker, feed the front three and make runs into the box.

The opposition

A few ones to watch in Sam Allardyce’s Baggies side:

Mbaye Diagne – The Senegalese international has given them real presence up top and would’ve scored quite a few since his January arrival from Galatasaray if it wasn’t for the offside flag! A real handful that Lascelles and Co. must take care of.

Matheus Pereira – Their best player and the man we need to keep quiet for me. He’s the one player in that side with the quality to create a goal or score a stunner of his own. The Brazilian has been hit and miss this season and was said to have had an off night in midweek against Everton, but he’ll be the man they turn to for inspiration here.

Conor Gallagher – A player I was actually keen to see us sign on loan from Chelsea last summer. He’s not found it easy to shine in such a poor West Brom side, however he’s an extremely hard worker, tenacious and has an eye for goal.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles – Was a target of Steve Bruce’s before we landed Joe Willock, so it’ll be interesting to see who wins the battle of the Arsenal loanees in the middle of the park!

Match prediction

There’s a hope in me that we might still have too much for them if we find a way to stick with the same formation, press and pass the ball with confidence. After all, the likes of Fraser, Willock and Murphy should be able to hurt a Baggies side who’ve conceded a stupid number of goals at The Hawthorns this season.

The other side of me feels this is a nailed on win for Sam Allardyce given his history in these situations, our injury issues and off field issues.

With all that in mind, it’ll probably be a draw – a result that wouldn’t be enough for either club!

Prediction: West Brom 1-1 Newcastle

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

80 thoughts on “West Brom (A) Pre-match thoughts, team news, possible line-ups & score prediction

  1. I’d play either Murphy on the right or Fraser there and Ritchie on left. Anyone but Joe. Anyone. Manqillo and Dummett as full backs.
    1-1 seems a good guess but it’s not what we need.


  2. I watched the Brighton/WBA game and BFS is almost totally reliant on set plays. You have to watch for the long throw, they do it every time. That’s one reason I would like Dummett at fullback but maybe even Carroll to start. A bit of coaching against long throws on the days off might have helped 🙂 In any case, they should be very wary of giving throws near the corners. That’s a reason I would not bring Fernandez in for this as he is very safety first and doesnt care about giving away corners and throw-ins. Normally that’s OK but that is all BFS has so deprive them of that and I think we win.

    WBA are pretty crap. They and Sheffield definitely have the worst teams in the league. I would even say we are better even with our 3 main players out.


  3. I dont think I would go 5 at the back either. Look what happened against Sheffield. If we could have 2 games back it would be that and Palace. What was Bruce thinking!!!!


  4. So Jenas is defending Bruce on the BBC’s Friday Night Social. The worst podcast on football. They spent 5 minutes on Jenas building a shed once and I have stopped listening. Anyway, of course it all came back to Jenas’s own time at NUFC. What did Robson ever see in him? You dont need to have been a good player to be a good pundit but Jenas is neither. He saying the press up here are like rabid dogs. More like rabid sheep in the case of Ryder and Douglas and quite a few others.


  5. JJ left nufc because he said it was like living in a fish bowl, fair enough i thought, but then he goes to London and now is a pundit on tv !
    privacy and fish bowl my arse.

    Mediocre player, mediocre pundit.


  6. Jenas is the most overrated player we have ever had at NUFC. Overrated by the press and even his managers, AND ESPECIALLY HIMSELF. I am not saying he is the worst player we have had because we have seen some dross, cough*** Amdy Faye, Xisco, Riviere, JoeLinton. No, it was his reputation compared to his skills, they just didnt match.


  7. Actually, we have sort of made it an art form of buying forwards who could not score. The 3 above to start with but I could name many more. Remember Albert Luque? I am sure they bought him from Youtube clips as he looked good in compilations. He cost quite a lot at the time as well. Probably about 25 million if translated to today’s transfer fees.


  8. I think what pundits dont understand is with Bruce it is the accumulation everything. It was a very underwhelming appointment and we all knew his record but were willing to give him a chance. Then the football was awful but by some incredible luck we got a few results. All the pundits saw were the results and they ignored the football. Eventually it was going to catch up with him, and it has. Meanwhile, he started throwing bombs at fans and media and throwing players under the bus. He has shown his true colours as a fraud, a coward and a petty little man who is only nice when it suits him and only nice to his cronies and pundit pals. You can add in baffling team selections, subs and formations as well – the Brazilian Donkey being the most obvious. Oh, and excuses. Blaming Rafa 🙂 What did he say about Rafa? “my great predecessor” in a very sarcastic way? I dont know where he got the balls to say that about a manager who won 2 La Ligas with Valencia FFS and a European Cup. You look at Bruce’s own record and the lack of self awareness is staggering.

    We all know this. Just wanted to get it off my chest.


  9. Paul merson was digging out Ritchie today for calling steve a coward, said it’s a terrible thing to call someone and if he was his manager he wouldn’t select him.

    Totally oblivious as to why he called him a coward in the first place. 🙄


  10. Watched Burnley and there was the most obvious penalty in the history of VAR not given for Arsenal.

    Ings out for Southampton. Lose today and they might be in trouble.


  11. kimtoon:
    Paul merson was digging out Ritchie today for calling steve a coward, said it’s a terrible thing to call someone and if he was his manager he wouldn’t select him.

    Totally oblivious as to why he called him a coward in the first place.

    Merse is such an idiot. Yet more evidence of these ex-footballers sticking with their mates no matter what the evidence. It even extends to siding against current players like with Balloon Heed but also the likes of Sutton, Jenas, Savage and many, many more.

    They actually never do any research which means their analysis is always only scratching the surface at best. At least Carra and Neville seem like they do their research and actually watch the games instead of just the highlights.


  12. Match ups have been pretty crap today. I dont care about any of them, even the Black Country derby. Not that many will be bothered about us against WBA tomorrow. On paper, that looks like the worst game of the season between 2 shot-shy defensive teams with entirely dislikable Managers (unless of course you are a pundit pal of theirs who happens also to be a paleontologist).

    Manchester derby should be interesting even though the title is already decided.


  13. If Bruce did the things he did in isolation I might be OK, but there are so many now. Accusations against fans, players and journalists. I just remembered he was accusing Ritchie of going to tell tales to Lee Charnley. I thought Bruce supposedly had this great relationship with Lee?

    Ferguson banned the BBC but I think you earn the right to be truculent sometimes. Bruce has done nothing in his entire career to warrant acting the way he does. He keeps going on about experience – experience of losing!!!! Worst win rate in PL history at about 28% and even worse for us since his 1st Christmas at 24%. What does this man have to brag about and how does he have the nerve to say what he says?

    As I have said already, he is showing his true colours. The petulent and petty oaf that the Mackems and Villa fans saw.


  14. Brighton did it again. They dominated the 1st half and then let the other team back in. It seems that if you can hang in there they will give you chances. Are you reading Brucie?

    They have the most number of draws along with Fulham, 11.


  15. Brighton could go down you know. They play good football but do not score. Now where have I heard that before? Their S. Coast neighbours Bournemouth. Fulham are getting to be the same.

    And then there is us who have been shyte but have better players than both – when fit. I wish we would just sack Bruce or let Jones pick the team.

    I think tomorrow will be telling to see how we play because it will show how much control Bruce has given up to Jones. I have a suspicion that the events of the last week will mean he wants to stamp his authority on the team. Please God NOOOOOO!!!

    I have to get up at 6am on a Sunday to watch it. Earlier, to get some coffee in me.


  16. Did a quick scan of the Blogs (Eds, The Mag) and The Chronic comments sections. Also Youtube where Wraith does a show every night with different guests, often a panel with as many as 6. Everybody is just so fed up with Bruce. To a man. Nobody has a good word for him.

    Remember he said he gets letters of encouragement from fans? He is a liar or it is Mackems taking the p!ss out of him and hoping he stays with us to take us down.


  17. A game today with a team who know they’re in a relegation battle and desperately need to win or it’s curtains and a team who doesn’t seem to know they’re in a battle who are fighting with their manager.


  18. Why do the Chronic make things so much more complicated than they are? They are saying we have to switch formations because of the injuries. No we dont. We switched formation because of the injury to Wilson but we have a like for like with Gayle. We can go back to what it was like Olly has suggested. I would prefer no Joeinton but that is still returning to the Wilson formation. The Chronic are messing around with all sorts of stupid alternatives. And dont mention the Harrison team. If we play that I will fly back and show my arse in Fenwicks window. I suppose regurgitating Chronicle stories is easier than actually thinking.


  19. I’d play Elliot Anderson. Why not. He’s suppose to be good and we need something different. What’s he got to lose.


  20. Neil Harrison’s predicted team:


    Murphy Lascelles Fernandez Lewis

    Shelvey Hendrick Willock

    Joelinton Fraser Anderson


  21. Stuart79:
    I’d play Elliot Anderson. Why not. He’s suppose to be good and we need something different. What’s he got to lose.

    Because it is the biggest game of the season, he is 18 and has not started a game.


  22. We really are in deep sh!t if we lose this Stuart and you cannot put that on the shoulders of a debutant. I know Matty scored in his first game against Man U but that was much earlier in the season and that is usually a throw away game that we always lose.


  23. Eric Sykes: Because it is the biggest game of the season, he is 18 and has not started a game.

    But he’s a good player, Eric. Can he play any worse than Shelvey?


  24. Actual team:


    Krafth Lascelles Clark Dummett

    Hendrick Shelvey Hayden Willock

    Joelinton Fraser


  25. I assume that’s the formation.

    How many “false 10s” are we playing? Fraser, Joe? Hendrick or Willock even? We are not playing a 9, false or otherwise.


  26. Should read that Craig Hope article above where he really gives Bruce both barrels. Craig is not some soft snippy Leyton Orient supporting southerner like Luke Edwards either. He was in the NUFC youth system so at least we know he can play the game to a certain standard even if it didnt work out for him.


  27. Well we have pretty much zero midfield with Shelvey and Hendrick in there and no striker yet again. I see another bore draw


  28. We really need Liverpool to wake up and make a statement with Fulham and thrash them by a big scoreline. Fulham have a better goal difference than us which could be the difference at the end of the season.


  29. Gilly Toon:
    We really need Liverpool to wake up and make a statement with Fulham and thrash them by a big scoreline. Fulham have a better goal difference than us which could be the difference at the end of the season.

    Yeah hoping Liverpool come back with a bang today , it’s our only hope as i simply do not see us winning.


  30. Why oh why are we not playing a striker? Bruce has even said himself that JoeLinton is better out wide. Has Fraser ever played as a 10? Has Hendrick played as a 10? Willock?

    He cant be having Shelvey as a 10 after playing him further back in recent games.

    I just do not understand Bruce.


  31. I have Amazon prime and it’s usually in my TV guide but was missing. Fount the prime app though got it now. Thanks Kim


  32. Joelinton made the right choice to try to pass and actually showed some pace. Then of course Bruce overloads the box for the corner and invites a quick break. Good job WBA are shyte.


  33. Take Shelvey off all free kicks. Another fcn floater to the edge of the box reminiscent if the Mike Williamson days. Surprise, it didnt work. It never did!


  34. Not as bad as Sheffield but we are playing shyte. I am not sure anybody knows where they are supposed to be playing which when you saw the lineup it was obvious that this would happen.

    What is the formation?

    Plus carrying at least 2 passengers – Joe and Krafth and probably Hendrick as well. You cannot win with 8 men.


  35. Big Joe is causing problems for their defenders. If I was a wba defender I would just let him go. He will do **** all


  36. I would normally ask what do we do in training every day but we know they don’t train. It’s all making sense now


  37. Are we seriously playing for a draw against this goal-shy piece of shyte?

    Krafth is having a ‘mare. He needs replacing at half time.


  38. The constant hoof ball is pointless, they are looking more threatening and we need changes half time.


  39. Half our team are made of rubber. The ball just bounces off them. The other half cannot pass to a team mate. Omg. 0-0 or a 1-0 either way. I suspect we may even lose this.


  40. You have 1 decent chance in the match so far and it falls to Donkey-Joe and of course he scuffs it.


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