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Benitez To Rely On These Players In Final Eight Games

10:45 pm, Thursday, March 24th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 38 Comments

Rafa Benitez will rely on Newcastle´s more experienced players during the vital eight game run-in to this season, with the distinct possibility that Newcastle can be relegated for the second time in just seven years from the Premier League.

What happens then we have no idea, because it will be a complete and utter disaster and bought on almost completely by the incompetence of those running the club from the top.

rafa benitez training 987

Rafa Benitez in training

So Rafa is unlikely to use younger players like Rolando Aarons and he has not planes to recall 19 year-old Adam Armstrong from his season long loan at Coventry.

This is what Benitez told the Chronicle when asked if he would recall Adam from his loan spell:

“We must allow him to stay on loan. At this time you need experience.”

“We have players that have to manage the pressure. Maybe it could be fine for him to come back,  but you never know and you can’t take any risks.”

“I prefer to go with senior players with more experience.” “People with experience like Papiss Cisse who know the atmosphere and all about playing in front of 52,000 people..”

“I think you have to be sure you know what you will get on the pitch.”

“He is a great lad and he is doing well. But there is a big difference between playing young players and those with experience.”

Good words there from the manager about one of our biggest young hopes for many years.

But Benitez will rely on experienced players like Papiss Cisse and Siem de Jong to try to save Newcastle from the drop – who hopefully will come to life under Rafa through the end of the season.

Comments welcome.

Tags: Adam Armstrong · Coaching · Loan Moves · Management · Newcastle News · Prayer · Premier League

38 responses so far ↓

  • 1 midweek weekend // Mar 24, 2016 at 10:52 PM

    armstrong is a great a talent but this mess we’re in is not his problem, and the pressure of saving your club shouldn’t be on the sholders of an 18 year old, relegation while he’s on the pitch could mentally ruin his career, fact is he’s exactly where he needs to be at this time of his career, chances are if we do go down, he’ll play a much more bigger role next season. it’s cisse and mitrovic who have to get the goals

  • 2 Blofal // Mar 24, 2016 at 11:01 PM

    And if we do get relegated he will be primed to step up from league 1 to the championship.

  • 3 bettyswallocks // Mar 24, 2016 at 11:02 PM

    De Jong looks like our best hope to link our attacking play and stay calm enough to pick out the right pass to the striker.

  • 4 cyprus // Mar 24, 2016 at 11:37 PM

    Bench shelvey, try sdj instead

  • 5 Jib // Mar 24, 2016 at 11:38 PM

    Play Shelvey left back

  • 6 ArtyH // Mar 24, 2016 at 11:39 PM

    After watching the news tonight, it struck me that the F.A should investigate Sunderland F.C for their handling of the Johnson situation with a view to deducting points for playing him at the time he was being investigated for his crimes. IMHO this is worse than playing an ineligible player as the ramifications are far worse. I think this is the only way the toon will stand a chance to avoid the drop if they get points deducted.

  • 7 Blofal // Mar 25, 2016 at 12:09 AM

    Shelvey needs to stay in my opinion. De Jong is a number 10… Shelvey is a CM.

  • 8 asl123 // Mar 25, 2016 at 12:14 AM

    In the last 2 matches, SDJ simply the best architecture in the midfield from my humble observation. If Tiote is fit, pair them up. The rest I don’t really care as we have enough quality except that Sissoko can’t play on the left wing!

  • 9 lesh // Mar 25, 2016 at 12:28 AM

    The Shields Gazette’s reporting that Janmaat was disappointed at having to come off on Saturday……. Ok, but they say he’s keen to make a mark and tempt potential suitors – in case we’re relegated!

    It’s good to know he’s really committed to Newcastle United.

  • 10 ilovetoon8788 // Mar 25, 2016 at 12:44 AM

    Not having a midfield destroyer is what is crippling us. If we have a fit inform Tiote our tactics might all just work.

  • 11 Essex Geordie Bill // Mar 25, 2016 at 1:03 AM


    So long as he doesn’t destroy himself off the field, the refs cabal just love booking him.

  • 12 Munster Mag // Mar 25, 2016 at 1:15 AM

    I cant see us staying up. Rafa is a good long term but unlikely to be the short term motivator we need. His team looks uncreative and sissoko is wasted on the left wing, even if he is a deluded arrogant tool. Carr has got away with murder until the last 3 months when idiot journos finally woke up to his lunacy and those of his paymaster. I look at the incredible honesty and integrity of amateur clubs in the gaelic athletic association (GAA) and the massive physical commitment of rugby clubs and nufc looks like a shambles when it could be a beacon. Sadly i think the fans and media know that the makems game sealed our fate. We were second best at home and rafa has done little for us creatively and 80% of our players dont care if we go down. Sick as a pig but i think norwich will be too motivated for most of our guys.

  • 13 Essex Geordie Bill // Mar 25, 2016 at 1:30 AM

    So we can mark you down as an optimist then.

  • 14 chicousa // Mar 25, 2016 at 1:33 AM

    The injury news on the does not look good. LB a big problem with Dummet out until Apr 9th, no return date for Haidara, Colback suspended, and Mbabu listed as doubtful for return on Apr 2nd. So maybe it WILL be Sissoko at LB! On top of that Janmaat might be out at RB. Nice that the board in the January window thought they could go without strengthening at the back….insanity!!!

  • 15 Toonacious T // Mar 25, 2016 at 1:36 AM

    Agree we need Tiote back. My observations from going to SJP to watch the derby
    As stated previously Janmaat is over-rated. Can’t cross a ball with any conviction and constantly out of position defensively. Sissoko likes to run with the ball but has no football brain to see the picture of what he is going to do with it when he arrives in the final third. He also keeps his feet planted on the ground for 75% of aerial duels. Perez is too lightweight and has zero balls, pulled out of three challenges when he was favourite to be first to the ball and could have won free kicks, also turned his back when closing down a clearance. A boxplayer if anything. Mitro looks like he is running in treacle, even when closing down the keeper. Again, he needs to bein the box receiving crosses. Colback is a championship defensive midfielder and a League one left back. Gini was far too deep and lets games pass him by at times, technically good but needs to be in further forward in a much more fluid progressive team. Shelvey has balls, always wants the ball, he needs alot more forward movement in front of him and he needs to realize that not every pass has to be a Hollywood worldy. Lascelles was good in the air and has decent pace and positioning, real potential imo. Chancel did well after 5 games out but there is at least one lapse in him mentally each game. Still decent though. Townsend was very direct and pacey. Hard-working and sharp. I thought he faded second half but he hasn’t had much game time this season so fair enough. Elliot had a few problems with his distribution but it was still far better than Krul’s. He pulled off a couple of great saves from close range too. Anita did very well at RB as did Sissoko when moved to LB. As a team we looked disjointed and totally bereft of confidence, especially when in front of goal. The crowd including myself did our uptmost but in truth this team looked far from sure of themselves and the overriding emotion that was palpable from the stands was frustration. Benitez is a good manager for sure and a win at Norwich would massively change the complexion of the situation but I think Benitez will need Cisse to suddenly remember how to stay on side and score if we are to get at least 12 points from 24 and to be honest I’ve never known us to be that lucky in the 25 years I’ve been following Newcastle United FC.

  • 16 Toonacious T // Mar 25, 2016 at 1:45 AM

    AHHH bollox, I’ve killed the blog…again!

  • 17 Toonacious T // Mar 25, 2016 at 1:47 AM

    I am to blog threads what Mike Ashley is to football clubs!

  • 18 Essex Geordie Bill // Mar 25, 2016 at 1:51 AM


    I agree that lady luck seldom seems to favour us. It’s easy to get paranoid about these things but in game after game I find it so frustrating when the ball more often than not seems to bounce away from our players when it runs loose.

    Or am I just being paranoid?

  • 19 Essex Geordie Bill // Mar 25, 2016 at 1:54 AM


    Its normally around this time of night when the blog goes dead, I would stay up longer if I didn’t need my 6 to 7 hours sleep. Not so young anymore.

  • 20 chicousa // Mar 25, 2016 at 1:59 AM

    Na, Toonacious, a few of us are just slow readers and took a while to get thru your post a few ago. lol. But your summation of things was pretty good. I disagree a bit about Janmaat, I think if he had not been over compensating for our general weakness in attack by constantly going too far forward too often and thus finding himself “out of position” defensively, then he would have been more effective in his defensive duties. I think Rafa will ask him to focus more on defense, so will be better in that area of his game.

  • 21 The overrated Frenchman // Mar 25, 2016 at 2:14 AM

    If we are going to have to use Anita and Sissoko as full-backs, logically they should play left and right respectively shouldn’t they? I don’t mind Sissoko on the left further forward but surely he’d be more comfortable on his natural side in defence. Likewise Anita.

  • 22 chicousa // Mar 25, 2016 at 2:21 AM

    Perhaps….but I still have a hard time associating Sissoko with the term “defense”, whether on the right or left! 🙂

  • 23 Toonacious T // Mar 25, 2016 at 2:23 AM

    Chicousa & Essex Geordie Bill
    Thanks for the reply guys. I had almost given up hope. I suppose my post was ridiculously long winded and tbf it is late! I respect your opinion Chicousa and I’m not arrogant enough to think I know better than International or Premiership managers but I would say I have long made it my folly to study Janmaat and a bit like Debuchey before him I must conclude that he fails to be the sum of all his parts. He has all the attributes to be a modern wing back but at the two ends where it really matters more often than not he fails. Admittedly, he rghtly comes in for less criticism because we have bigger problems elsewhere but I personally think he is not that useful, although compared to Colback at LB he looks positively world class!

  • 24 chicousa // Mar 25, 2016 at 2:29 AM

    I would agree that Janmaat’s final product particularly his crosses into the box have been sadly lacking this season as compared to last when I think he had far more assists.

  • 25 Toonacious T // Mar 25, 2016 at 2:30 AM

    TOF – I follow your logic and Chicousa I know what you mean about Sissoko and defence but he did well there albeit against a poor Sunderland side who were sitting back at that stage in the game and apparently he played at the back earlier in his career. Anita at RB did well too but Rafa may well swap them over. Sad state of affairs when the squad is so threadbare that these are your options.

  • 26 chicousa // Mar 25, 2016 at 2:32 AM

    On another topic-
    Does everyone hate these two week international breaks as much as I do? An eternity of waiting for the next match! 🙁

  • 27 Toonacious T // Mar 25, 2016 at 2:35 AM

    Ordinarily I would agree but Rafa desperately needs time with this squad of ours.

  • 28 Toonacious T // Mar 25, 2016 at 2:37 AM

    Been good chatting amigo. My battery is 2% so until next time. Buenas Suerte.

  • 29 chicousa // Mar 25, 2016 at 2:40 AM

    Aye, Rafa needs the extra time. Just hard on us fans! Also if Rafa saw fit to play Sissoko at LB then I would respect that decision…..if anyone can get him to concentrate on defense it is Benitez.

  • 30 Toonacious T // Mar 25, 2016 at 2:41 AM

    Totally agree. Fingers crossed for Norwich. HWTL!

  • 31 jimmysmith // Mar 25, 2016 at 3:04 AM

    Yes, Cisse, De Jong, as well as Tiote and Collocini in theory can best shoulder the heavy responsibility that will come with these critical last 8 games.

    They have the experience and the ability. Either Shelvey or Widjnaldum might then miss out, as you would struggle to fit those two and De Jong into an effective midfield 3.

    Although Widj back on the left, tucking in, and Sissoko at left back bombing on, with Tiote anchoring might work, and Townsend working the other flank with Janmaat. That probably gives us our best most senior 11 on the pitch against Norwich, and Mitro and Perez off the bench.

    To be frank, I think those 13 players represent our best and perhaps only hope.

  • 32 chicousa // Mar 25, 2016 at 3:32 AM

    For me, Mitro has to play ahead of Cisse. Perhaps try both, but if only one plays it should be Mitrovic, as his hold up play is far superior to Cisse, he is better in the air heading the ball and not offsides nearly as much as Papiss. Agree about Siem, would like to see him start in the 10 position…

  • 33 chicousa // Mar 25, 2016 at 3:50 AM

    In the still and quiet of the night….this one goes out on behalf of the inimitable Tsunki
    Ashley Out!!!

  • 34 Derek // Mar 25, 2016 at 4:39 AM

    My team Vs. Norwich


    Sub: Perez as CM or LM, Shelvey in DM, Mitro into ST

  • 35 cyprus // Mar 25, 2016 at 7:13 AM

    Looks alright. Isn’t Janmaat injured? I’d bench Shelvey for Saivet who looked very good in his cameo. I’d throw Shelvey and Perez on if we are losing in the 60′. I’d also start Doumbia with Mitro – unless the original Cisse has come back. In back, Lasc, Mbemba, Sissoko. Saivet or Tiote can make it a back 4, only if we are getting slaughtered. Go all out at them. Show them we are the better team… Too much fear. If we are to go down (I think we are) go guns blazing.

  • 36 cyprus // Mar 25, 2016 at 7:22 AM

    Not sure if Doumbia is 45 years old or whatever I’ve been reading. I don’t care. The rest are playing like 45 year olds. Start him. He too was good in his cameo, almost scoring but for a brilliant save.

  • 37 Derek // Mar 25, 2016 at 7:26 AM


    I didn’t know Janmaat is injured, any ideas of how long he will be out for?

    Agree with going all out. Considering we are scraping the bottom of the barrel for getting a back 4 together, I’d consider a back 3 instead and playing two DMs of Saivet and Tiote.

    Then we can have one DM moving forward when we attack and the other hanging back to give cover in defence.

  • 38 mactoon // Mar 25, 2016 at 5:55 PM

    cyprus // Mar 24, 2016 at 11:37 PM

    Bench shelvey, try sdj instead

    5Jib // Mar 24, 2016 at 11:38 PM

    Play Shelvey left back

    Jesus christ are you two serious?

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