Vurnon Anita Pleased With Goal – Rafa Benitez Happy Enough


After the 2-0 win against Southend United last night, Rafa Benitez was adamant that Newcastle still had to improve in nearly all areas of the game, but the manager was pleased with the win – our third in four friendly games.

It was a poor first half showing, but then after only three minutes into the second half Vurnon Anita hit a pile-driver into the top corner of the net giving Southend goalkeeper Mark Oxley no chance at all.

Southend United v Newcastle United - Pre Season Friendly

Vurnon Anita congratulated by Ayoze Perez after scoring

It was followed with 12 minutes to go by a nice left-footed finish on the turn from Yoan Gouffran – his first goal in what seems like an eternity – but isn’t.

We’re not sure if Yoan will stay at Newcastle for this season, but he can be a very decent player for us in the Championship and always works hard.

After the game Vurnon talked to the media:

“It’s good for the team to have won, although there are still things we have to improve.”

“It was nice to play in that position, and nice to score the goal. I saw the chance was available, and thankfully I took it.”

“I was a bit more advanced down the right-hand side than usual, but it was nice to be able to show that I can play in that role.”

And Rafa Benitez was pleased after the game too, but he knows Newcastle have to tighten up in a lot of different areas:

“I was really pleased because we spoke about pressing more and then he (Anita) scored the goal.”

“It was good, after that Yoan Gouffran scored as well so I was really pleased with them.”

“But I was pleased for the team because we picked up another clean sheet.” 

“We conceded just a few chances.” “In the Championship we have to concede even less.”

New signing Grant Hanley made his first appearance for Newcastle when he came on after 63 minutes for Chancel Mbemba.

The last friendly game is at home to Vitesse on Saturday afternoon at St. James’ Park = and then we go to Fulham the following Friday for our first game in the Championship.

We need a win in that game.

ClubLocationDate and KickoffResult
BohemianDalymount ParkSaturday, 16th July
2:00pm
Won 6-0
Doncaster RoversKeepmoat StadiumWednesday, 20th July
7:45pm
Drew 2-2
KSC LokerenDaknamstadionSaturday, 23rd July
4:30pm
Won 4-0
Southend UnitedRoots Hall
Tuesday, 26th July
7:45pm
Won 2-0
SBV Vitesse St. James ParkSaturday, 30th July
3:00 pm
Won 3-2

Comments welcome.



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65 comments so far

  • brklyngeordie

    Jul 27, 2016 at 8:21 AM

    Comment #1

    7brklyngeordie // Jul 27, 2016 at 8:17 AM

    Have to really say Anita is becoming one of my favorites on team and not because of this preseason goal it’s because the man took the leap of faith to come from his boyhood club Ajax who are usually successful and in Champions League and always competing for domestic trophies and was on fringes of Dutch squad to come test himself here and although it did go so well as first planned and transition was not easy and maybe position he prefers to play was not handed to him or hell even being included in Starting XI most of time he has always worked hard and been ready when called upon to play anywhere he is asked to and for that I salute him and think he is a model player for many to look up to at the club and although he may not wear armband cause he may not be vocal enough his professionalism is something all should follow

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  • giimps

    Jul 27, 2016 at 8:28 AM

    Comment #2

    Another clean sheet, another 4231 but with different abilities in different positions.
    Looks like Rafa will stick to 4231 formation but change the players to accomplish different requirements.
    We won’t always need 2 holding midfielders (if at all) and in many games we may even not have a definitive holding midfielder.
    A high pressing game from the front players can allow the 2 deep midfielders to run the game ,especially if the fullbacks aren’t prone to bombing on and leaving gaps, even vs poorer opposition ,Rafa will have us defending well, pressing high and pressurising the opposition, my only worry is vs teams who have Kevin Davis, Peter crouch type players as we don’t have a lot of height in the box and our Keepers aren’t renowned for commanding their area

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  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Jul 27, 2016 at 8:30 AM

    Comment #3

    Brklyn

    I agree with that. Although i’m out of breath reading it.

    Here :- ,.,.,.,.,…,.,.,

    Use some of those next time 😀

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  • Mag52

    Jul 27, 2016 at 8:34 AM

    Comment #4

    Brklyn,

    Agree with you about Anita. We need a whole squad with his attitude.

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  • Jib

    Jul 27, 2016 at 8:35 AM

    Comment #5

    punch those asian marks

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  • Jail for Ashley

    Jul 27, 2016 at 8:36 AM

    Comment #6

    Bryklyn,
    Unfortunately Anita was a victim of Llambias’s purple/moneyball scheme. He was bought to be a direct replacement for Tiote or Cabaye and when greed priced out Tiote and nobody yet fancied Cabaye after one season Pardew didn’t have a clue what to do with him. He became a misfit through no fault of his own.

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  • WWSBRD

    Jul 27, 2016 at 8:42 AM

    Comment #7

    Nar still don’t rate him personally though he will be decent in the Championship I’ve little doubt

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  • Spoof

    Jul 27, 2016 at 8:45 AM

    Comment #8

    giimps

    Sels the new keeper is 6ft2″ and renowned for commanding the box, I know he made a right old rik in an earlier pre-season match but I do expect him to be between the sticks against Fulham and I expect him to be commanding the box as well, and out of our three main CB’s we have Lascellas at 6ft2″ and Hanley at 6ft3″, in all honesty for the first time in what seems a life time I feel that we do have enough power and height at the back, obviously Mbemba might play but he is still 6ft and the expected fullbacks for me are Gamez just shy of 6ft and Dummett 6ft, the chances are we could be one of the if not the tallest defence in the league, even Janmaat is 6ft1″ if he is still here, height at the back for this coming season is not something that I am concerned at, and that’s the first time I have been able to say that since we signed Colo.

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  • Spoof

    Jul 27, 2016 at 9:04 AM

    Comment #9

    WWSBRD

    Agreed, I seriously cannot see what anyone see’s in him apart from an absolutely fantastic attitude and work ethic, I can’t take that away from him, he always gives his best but sadly I just don’t see his best as being good enough, obviously he is never going to physically dominate the midfield (in fairness not a great deal he can do about that) but his tackling is weak, his pairing alongside Colback last season has got to be one of the weakest that I have ever seen, and his passing is woeful, some will look at stats and say something like 85% shows that I am talking a load of bollox, well what the stats don’t show is where the passes are going to, you look at Shelvey and he looks up and we have seen it ourselves, those 45 yard passes which land on a sixpence, Anita has tried them once or twice but with all due respect I doubt that he could hit a 10k bomb crater let alone a sixpence, again in fairness to him he knows this himself and as a result when he gets the ball he turns for either a sideways pass or a back pass, the truth is with his physique he shouldn’t really get a chance in the centre of the pitch unless as a number 10, he should either be a winger or a fullback but I doubt that he has enough natural talent for that, so for me 10 out of 10 for effort, but sorry he just isn’t good enough.

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  • jimmysmith

    Jul 27, 2016 at 9:08 AM

    Comment #10

    If Anita were 3 inches taller and a little faster over 5 yards, he’d be playing at a Champions league club I imagine. Does anyone remember the name of a central midfielder who was a junior at Boro, and later went on to play for either Hartlepools or Darlo I can’t remember which, and who I think would have been lucky to have be 5 foot tall. Saw him in a derby about ten years ago, on a rare trip back, when he might have been around twenty. The match was a cracker, and he ran the show in central mid from first to last whistle. When the match started I honestly thought their mascot was a little slow in running off. But really had he been of competitive stature, he would surely have played at the very highest level. Anyone one remember him?

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  • Our Toon

    Jul 27, 2016 at 9:12 AM

    Comment #11

    Anita is a player that can play in multiple positions, the concern with shelvey is he’ll get a Hollywood pass right from time to time but he more often than not give possession away. He’s got a mentality of kick rush football rather than the patient build up which is needed at times.

    It’s great when his Hollywood pass comes off but apart from the west ham game I can’t recall a 70 yard pass that has paid dividends. Add to that he’s a lazy immobile player, I’d take Anita over him all day long. Nice to see shelvey get a goal though in the friendly….only took about 12 deflections to beat the keeper.

    For me the jury is well and truly out on him….currently the highest earner at the club and the laziest player in the squad…..lazier than sissoko and that’s saying something

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  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Jul 27, 2016 at 9:13 AM

    Comment #12

    I don’t know why people can ONLY see Anitas work ethic. He has much more to his game than just graft. His passing is good, he is quick. He isn’t clumsy on the ball like a some. His fown side is probably his size, but as a wide player it won’t matter too much. He rarely got to show what he was capable of under previous managers, and I think they wasted his attributes by having play too defensively.

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  • WWSBRD

    Jul 27, 2016 at 9:13 AM

    Comment #13

    Spoof
    Yeah I don’t disagree with much of that though I can’t see him having the ability to play attacking roles. RB seems his best position but not starting

    He will do well in the championship most likely but when we get promoted he’s back in the same boat of being unable to compete at that level

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  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Jul 27, 2016 at 9:15 AM

    Comment #14

    Like a some = like some*
    Having play = having him play*

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  • WWSBRD

    Jul 27, 2016 at 9:16 AM

    Comment #15

    Bigi has had as many good games in a town shirt as Anita for me

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  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Jul 27, 2016 at 9:17 AM

    Comment #16

    Oh, and i have seen him actually put a decent cross in from time to time, which other supposedly more established wide players can’t seem to do.

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  • WWSBRD

    Jul 27, 2016 at 9:18 AM

    Comment #17

    Professional sports man lazy? Hmm

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  • jimmysmith

    Jul 27, 2016 at 9:18 AM

    Comment #18

    He’s been liked by 3 consecutive managers. 4 if you consider Carver a manager.

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  • Spoof

    Jul 27, 2016 at 9:27 AM

    Comment #19

    WWSRBD

    I can’t see him having that ability either, but yes you’re probably right at the lower level which we are at he may do a job, but if he went I wouldn’t miss him.

    YCMIU

    We can only see that because that’s all we can see, sorry but he doesn’t pass forward, you said it yourself his size is a weakness which won’t be exposed as much out wide, but he is a central midfield player, when he signed he asked for assurances that he would be played there, that is why I don’t see any good in him and with Gamez, Mbabu, Sterry and possibly even Janmaat then is there really much of a chance for him, like I say, great attitude, sorry like but there is where the positives end.

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  • Ian Toon

    Jul 27, 2016 at 9:34 AM

    Comment #20

    Spoof – I was at the game last night. Not overly bothered about pre season games in terms of judging players:
    – everything went through Shelvey
    – Anita scored a good goal
    – second half we looked more cohesive
    – barely noticed Dwight Gayle who contributed little.

    Shearer never bothered in friendly games. Particularly after picking up a serious injury in one.

    Had a brief chat with Jack Colback at end of game just before players got on coach. He made a very good point about respective levels of fitness. This is closely monitored and some of squad train on day of friendlies. Hence you can reasonably expect varying performance but it’s all about being ready for the Fulham game. After the Saturday game the level of training is to be somewhat relaxed.

    He commented on it being good to have competition for places and that he prefers players playing in natural positions because Rafa feels that players operate instinctively. Training has seen much drilling on team shape and pressing in key areas. Half in jest I mentioned that I had barely noticed his efforts in the game to which he laughingly said he was one of the players who had already reached his desired monitored fitness level.

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  • Spoof

    Jul 27, 2016 at 9:36 AM

    Comment #21

    jimmysmith

    Pardew didn’t want and rarely played him, Pardew done to him what McClaren done to Thauvin, which was to use them as a tool to try and tell Ashley that allowing Graham Carr to sign the players was a flawed strategy, is Carver really a good reference and Rafa played him out of position due us not having a suitable right back and it was thought that Anita was possibly the best out of a non existent bunch, we had no one else who we could play there.

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  • WWSBRD

    Jul 27, 2016 at 9:40 AM

    Comment #22

    jimmy
    Tbf Shola and Saylor saw out plenty managers too

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  • brklyngeordie

    Jul 27, 2016 at 9:41 AM

    Comment #23

    Sorry for the lack ,,, and ….. In my last post bit of a lazy typer….

    I’m just saying Anita, although maybe not the best at any position he plays he is willing to fight for it and has never come out and angled for a move away although he may he is better then some being picked before him..

    And yes I do think he offers more then hard work think he is very fast and can play intricate 1-2’s but we don’t have anyone surrounding him to play that type of footy wish more would move ball as quick as he does and move without the ball plays the game properly imo

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  • Spoof

    Jul 27, 2016 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #24

    Ian

    This is twice that you have done this too me, what I mean is leave me bamboozled lol.

    Your post @21, yes I can see what your saying and yes I can see the sense in it, but it was posted to me and I’m not sure why, if it’s to back up what I feel about Anita and came about due to my response to YCMIU which is directly above your post then thank you, but I’m not sure your saying that !

    By the way the other occasion you bamboozled me was when you mentioned something about blog harmony and was I taking notice, again I wasn’t sure what you were getting at ?

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  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Jul 27, 2016 at 9:54 AM

    Comment #25

    Behind Elliott who was my player of the season. Anita wasn’t far behind – pity more players at the club didn’t show the same commitment to the club. He kept it simple filled the whole in defensive midfield broke up play and played the simple pass seem to be in the right position at the right time

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  • Ian Toon

    Jul 27, 2016 at 9:56 AM

    Comment #26

    Jimmy – Anita has to operate with physical limitations. In the discussion you ‘re having my Dad always mentions Willie Carlin. He played for Clough ( Derby?) and was a real terrier. Anita has a limited passing range and his confidence levels have prevented him competing in central midfield. He was given room in the second half last night and did well.

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  • Ian Toon

    Jul 27, 2016 at 9:58 AM

    Comment #27

    Spoof- It’s been very noticeable that since Monday there’s been a lot of good football chat. Long may it continue!!

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  • Jib

    Jul 27, 2016 at 10:00 AM

    Comment #28

    I cannot get my head round people comenting on a players height.
    It’s soccer ffs not gridiron or rugby – Anita is the same height as Lionel Messi and 2 centimtres taller than Santi Cazorla !

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  • lesh

    Jul 27, 2016 at 10:00 AM

    Comment #29

    A big problem for some our players who’ve experienced the Prem are going to have is motivating themselves when turning out at small grounds.

    But, there’s an upside for them in that they could play at SJP with 50,000 fans to cheer them on. That’s a home advantage the smaller clubs don’t have and should incentivise them greatly.

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  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Jul 27, 2016 at 10:03 AM

    Comment #30

    Spoof

    He prefers CM, yes. But not a holding DM. He is suited to a more attacking role, and playing as one of the three behind the striker may end up suiting him. He does pass forward when the team is on the front foot, which rarely happened in previous seasons. I am not saying he is the answer to all our attacking issues, but he is better than some give him credit for imo, and i still think he will surprise a few people this season, and if and when we are promoted, next season too.

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  • Average_Contents

    Jul 27, 2016 at 10:05 AM

    Comment #31

    I tell you what Ian, you’ve got some access you mate. First you met and then wrote love letters to Pinnochio and now you’re regailing us of tales about another encounter with the ginger ninja.

    Yer right buster.

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  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Jul 27, 2016 at 10:10 AM

    Comment #32

    Anyway, this football chat lark has to stop. Where are all the fights? 😀

    Spoof

    It’s going to be a great season, i’m looking forward to seeing who is going to be proved correct about which players. If Anita turns out to be pants i will be the first to come back to you and admit it 😀

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  • Spoof

    Jul 27, 2016 at 10:15 AM

    Comment #33

    YCMIU

    He may do well at a lower level but is that really what we are looking for, I would have hoped that we are looking at players who will do very well here and hold there own if we go up, basically what your saying is that Anita either wants to be a number 10 or be a central part of an attacking five with just one holding midfielder behind him, in all honesty like him as much as you wish but for me he is not a number 10 and in all seriounes I think there is as much chance of seeing snow in hell as there is of seeing Rafa change the formation which has got him the reputation which he has so he can accomodate Anita, so either way I think that Anita is stuck in limbo.

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  • Ibizatoon

    Jul 27, 2016 at 10:15 AM

    Comment #34

    Good morning blog,

    Another friendly under our belt. Can’t believe the new season is about to start already. I guess that means that summer madness is almost over in Ibiza too…hurrah!

    Like most (it seems), I’m optimistic going in to this new season. It’s not just that we’re playing a lower tier of football, but the Rafa effect is a breath of fresh air. Long may it last.

    YCMIU…You wanna step outside?

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  • Ian Toon

    Jul 27, 2016 at 10:17 AM

    Comment #35

    I can see Mbemba not being in the starting line up once Hanley is fully fit. Can’t see Rafa playing 3 at back in a 3-5-2. He looks a formidable mean character just what we’ve been missing. He’s the complete opposite of Saylor what you see is what you get.

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  • YouCouldn'tMakeItUp

    Jul 27, 2016 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #36

    Ibiza

    Aye, haway, then!! Come on. Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough. Et.c

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  • Spoof

    Jul 27, 2016 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #37

    YCMIU

    and I’ll tell you another thing, if Anita proves to be a fantastic footballer and does extremely well and is voted player of the season ( by more than a handful on here I hasten to add) then not only will I admit to being wrong but I will also show my arse in Fenwick’s window !

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  • Ibizatoon

    Jul 27, 2016 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #38

    YCMIU…Can I not have a go even if I don’t think I’m hard enough?

    I don’t suppose your Dad or older Brothers are quite small, because I have a mid sized Dad that could teach your small Dad a thing or too*

    *Pending confirmation about your Dad and / or Brothers.

    That’s the stuff. You can feel the rage on the blog again.

    Ow, just caught my nail.

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  • Spoof

    Jul 27, 2016 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #39

    Ergh

    hang on what did I just say, can we please delete @37, I didn’t right that, it was my dog, she’s very mischievous !!!!!

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  • Ibizatoon

    Jul 27, 2016 at 10:25 AM

    Comment #40

    A question…has anyone actually ever bared their behind in Fenwicks window?

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