Date: 27th November 2017 at 6:34pm
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Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez is expected to swing the axe on his faltering stars when his side take on West Brom on Tuesday.

The Magpies travel to the Hawthorns off the back of a bitterly disappointing defeat to Watford on Saturday, with Will Hughes and Andre Gray strikes sandwiching a DeAndre Yedlin own goal in their 3-0 win at St James’ Park.

It was the club’s fourth successive defeat, after losing to Burnley, Bournemouth and Manchester United, and the third straight match in which Benitez has employed a 4-4-2 formation, which has resulted in one goal scored and eight goals conceded.

As a result, the Spanish boss is expected to end the experiment against the Baggies and revert to his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, as well as axing two of those who faltered against the Hornets.

However, he will not be able to call upon Jamaal Lascelles, Christian Atsu or Paul Dummett, after he confirmed they were all still ruled out through injury.

Mo Diame and Joselu both were well off the pace on Saturday and can be expected to be dropped from the starting XI, with Isaac Hayden and Mikel Merino taking their place.

While the defence was all at sea against Watford, Benitez has little he can do to change things up, and he is likely to keep faith for at least one more game before chopping and changing.

Hayden will likely return from his one match suspension in place of his replacement Diame, lining up against Jonjo Shelvey in the middle of the park.

Merino, who returned from his back injury off the substitutes’ bench on Saturday, will likely be utilised in a more advanced role, to both make use of his abilities as well as keep him protected from suffering an injury having to defend.

Jacob Murphy and Matt Ritchie can be expected to start on the flanks, supporting lone striker Dwight Gayle, who has netted the Magpies’ only goal in four games.

In other Newcastle United news, Paul Merson has slammed the club in his prediction against West Brom.

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