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Archive for category: Rafa Benitez.

Why Newcastle United’s last two games will be important

April 27th, 2017 | 20 Comments |

Rafa Benitez.
Benitez: Still needs to restore a bit of pride?
Before last Monday evening, a run of one point from three games had seen Newcastle fall seven points behind Brighton. A convincing and confidence boosting 4-1 victory against Preston steadied nerves, assuring automatic promotion, but as a team feted as one of the best (or most expensive) ever to find themselves in the Championship, it is hard to escape the feeling that the Magpies still have something to prove before they take the step up to the Premier League once more. That’s without the possible ramifications of the looming tax scandal of course, but that’s a whole different story!

While Chris Hughton’s Seagulls wrapped up their promotion bid early, The Magpies seemed intent on putting their fans through as much anguish as possible (a familiar feeling some Geordies might say). However, Rafa Benitez’s men can be thankful for the equally dreadful form of Huddersfield making their automatic promotion bid much easier than it could have been. Of course, that poor run was stopped against Preston last Monday evening, and Newcastle now have a chance to continue making a statement of intent in their final two games. (more…)


Newcastle United vs Leeds United: A battle of the statistics

April 6th, 2017 | 2 Comments |

Dwight Gayle scoring
Dwight Gayle: Two goals against Leeds last time
Newcastle are hurtling back towards the Premiership after opening up a commanding lead at the top of the Championship and they could seal promotion in their upcoming home game against Leeds Utd. Gary Monk’s men have enjoyed a strong season and will make life difficult for Newcastle, but the Magpies will be confident of victory.

These sides met at Elland Road in November and Dwight Gayle put Leeds to the sword with a superbly taken brace. Leeds battled bravely but Newcastle were superior in all departments, and the gulf has widened between the two sides since. Leeds are fifth in the table, but 12 points behind leaders Newcastle, who have been brimming with confidence all season. (more…)


Can Benitez still beat Hughton’s 102 point promotion record?

March 3rd, 2017 | 93 Comments |

Benitez and Hughton
Benitez and Hughton’s Tuesday evening showdown
I know similar comparisons have been made elsewhere between Benitez’s current Magpies team and Chris Hughton’s 2009-10 side. However, Tuesday evening’s game against Hughton’s Brighton has finally inspired me to throw in some of my own thoughts on the matter.

As we go into another crunch game against third placed Huddersfield with 34 games gone, Benitez’s team is currently one point ahead of where Hughton’s team were at the same stage with 73 to 72 (as you can see below). (more…)


Benitez and the ironic change of emphasis at topsy-turvy Toon

September 11th, 2016 | 8 Comments |

Rafa Benitez and Matt Ritchie
Benitez with Scottish signing, Matt Ritchie.
Like the NHS and the British education system, Newcastle United under Mike Ashley has undoubtedly been the victim of too many top down reorganisations inflicted by those who didn’t have a clue what they were doing. Yet, despite living with the consequences for a second time under Mike Ashley in the form of relegation, we fans have seldom been more sanguine, all because of confidence in Rafa Benitez and his diligent, systematic, trophy winning ways. Now we do have a manager of Benitez’s calibre, Newcastle United are strong favourites for the Championship title and automatic promotion. If you were thinking of having a bet and would like to claim a bet365 bonus code where you could receive a bonus of up to £200, you will find instructions in the following link (more…)


Will Benitez provide the Yang to Newcastle United’s Yin?

May 29th, 2016 | No Comments |

Rafa Benítez and Vicente del Bosque
Benítez showing his own coaching app to Vicente del Bosque
Presuming you are Newcastle United fan, or a football fan of some sort at least as you are reading this football blog, you’ll know the usual clichés about Newcastle United – passionate, impulsive, living in the moment and pretty much the exact opposite of new(ish) manager, Rafael Benitez. Words like ‘analytical,’ ‘calculating’ and ‘strategic’ cling to the systematic Spaniard like barnacles to a dredger.

I say all that having been an admirer since I used to visit friends in Valencia when he was manager there. I took in several games at the Mestalla, where he broke the stranglehold of the Spanish big two. In three years there between 2001-4, he won two La Ligas and a UEFA Cup. In those days before he was snapped up by Liverpool, I fancied him as a worthy successor to Bobby Robson when he retired. Thanks largely to Robson we were big club in the Champion’s League and getting a manager of Benítez’s calibre as a successor was not a unreasonable expectation in those days. However, I certainly couldn’t have predicted him coming twelve years later under the current circumstances. An obsessive analyst since his days as a young footballer, when he meticulously analysed his own play, he is so scrupulous and methodical, if he hadn’t had so much success as a manager, he might well have been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. (more…)