Newcastle United fell to their first loss in almost two months against Everton last weekend. A solitary goal from Walcott was enough for The Toffees to steal all three points, leaving The Magpies in the 10th place, three points away from Leicester City in 9th. Rafa Benitez will want to finish the season on a high and will want to get back to winning ways when they welcome a struggling West Brom side to St James’ today.
The Baggies, who are still rock bottom, are mathematically still in contention to avoid the drop but they cannot afford to lose even a single point in their last three league games. Darren Moore’s side managed to steal some points against Manchester United and Liverpool recently and will believe that they can do something similar against the Magpies this weekend. But Rafa’s side are in decent form and playing at home, will believe that they can go all the way. Here is the predicted lineup Rafa might field for this game against West Brom:
Christian Atsu continues to suffer from a knee injury and is no closer to training. He is the only casualty ahead of this game for Rafa.
Expected lineup (4-4-1-1):
Martin Dubravka has been effective in the last few games and is the first choice for Rafa at the moment. He will keep his place under the bar this weekend. The manager has trusted Florian Lejeune and Jamaal Lascelles as his first choice partnership and should continue to do so this weekend.
Paul Dummett and DeAndre Yedlin are both regulars in the first team for Newcastle United and will start at left-back and right-back respectively.
The manager has a range of options to chose from for this midfield role but he should stick with Jonjo Shelvey, who has picked up some form recently and Mohamed Diame, who is fast turning into a crucial part of the squad for Rafa.
On-loan Chelsea ace Kenedy has been effective on the left flank in the midfield and should retain his place in the side for this weekend while Matt Ritchie, who scored the winner against Arsenal, is expected to start on the right flank in the midfield.
Ayoze Perez has found some form late this season and will be the danger man for West Brom in this game. He will be partnered with Dwight Gayle, who only came off the bench in the last game.
Here is how they might line up: