The Newcastle United Blog

News and Commentary On Newcastle United By Ed Harrison, A Proud Exiled Geordie And Lifelong Fan

The Newcastle United Blog header image 2
Howay The Lads!!

Rafa Benitez – What Newcastle Can’t Do This Season

1:40 pm, Saturday, August 6th, 2016 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 23 Comments

One of the things that can be classed as positive about last night’s 1-0 defeat at Craven Cottage is that it came in the very first game of the season.

So all this hype about Newcastle walking away with the Championship and being a cast iron certainty for promotion isn’t as obvious or as certain as it may appear.

That’s a good thing for both players, the coaching staff and the fans and we now probably need to get back down to earth.

rafa benitez fulham 98

Rafa Benitez at Fulham

Rafa will prepare the side for two home games in a row coming up against Huddersfield and Reading, where hopefully we can pick up all 6 points – but that is no longer a certainty either.

Rafa Benitez is nothing if not pragmatic – and he had this to say after the game:

“The only positive is that it is the beginning of the season and we have to make sure we are ready for the next game.”

“We need to improve a lot of things.” “Everybody has realized it can’t be like this for the rest of the season.”

That’s right – it cannot be like this for the rest of the season – that would be as disastrous as last season was.

Newcastle have to defend better than we did last night and the defeat will do nothing to help with the confidence of our players and of the team overall.

Two wins in a row will steady the ship and we probably need to average two points a game to be on track so that’s 10 points from the following four games scheduled for August, three of which are at home:


Sat 13	15:00	H	Huddersfield			
Wed 17	19:45	H	Reading			
Sat 20	15:00	A	Bristol City				
Sat 27	17:30	H	Brighton

That’s possible if we can play somewhere near our best form.

Comments welcome.

Tags: Coaching · Management · Newcastle News · Other News

23 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Slank // Aug 6, 2016 at 1:41 PM


    When we win against Huddersfield those same doubting Thomases and Jeremiahs of weak bladder and limp intellect will have metamorphed back into boundless unreal expectations salivating in orgasmic delight and prophisiding our walk to promotion.

  • 2 JamesToon // Aug 6, 2016 at 1:45 PM


    exactly mate, thats the way it is with fanbases. Take it on the chin, it wont be the last loss, but its highlighted the problems, we need a left back, CAM, winger and striker. Need to work on “channel play” more, need shelvey and diame to provide a more forward thinking and physical midfield.

    I like the way we were out of possession in the first half, we just need to work on both defending and attacking set pieces and creating chances. We had 2 really good moves involvign ritchie having 2 shots blocked, we just need to do that more!

    Weve now got 2 home games which is where we need to get 6 points, then try and recover our away form against bristol city which i am going to.

  • 3 bettyswallocks // Aug 6, 2016 at 1:48 PM

    Tsunami…….I agree with you on Colback and Perez. Dummett could be a useful backup as he is quite solid defensively and always gives his all. Colback is what he is and not good enough to play in a competetive team and I can’t see Perez suddenly transforming into a consistent force. He has shown some great touches in front of goal but gets knocked off the ball too easily and doesn’t look up for a scrap.

  • 4 BandB // Aug 6, 2016 at 1:48 PM

    First night reviews.
    Sometimes they are gushing. Sometimes they are lukewarm. Sometimes you get panned.
    Invariably they reflect what people’s expectations were beforehand.
    They are a snap judgement. Rarely nuanced.
    And they are fish and chip paper next day.

  • 5 gorgonzola ( former Pecorino former to gorgonzola) // Aug 6, 2016 at 1:50 PM

    I am not quite sure where this crap is coming from to be honest.

    How does one beat Tottenham 5:1 season end first next competitive match lose to F*****g Fulham.

    Well no Townsend, no Wini, no Sissoko. Replaced with even more sub par rubbish. Players where really poor and to be honest they don’t belong in this club.

    As the captain’s first game Lascheles had a complete SHOCKER.
    Hanley looked piss poor. Marking for the goal is the worst thing I have seen.

    I am not to sure where to from here to be honest. And this was Fulham….

  • 6 JamesToon // Aug 6, 2016 at 1:54 PM


    Fulham are a different outfit under jokanovic

    It was a wake up call for both the players and rafa, but you cant let one loss kill all the positivity.

  • 7 NUFCPaul // Aug 6, 2016 at 1:55 PM

    Rafa – here’s what Newcastle can’t do this season – win a game. And the blog rejoiced for Rafa has finally seen what was obvious to them all yesterday. So let’s pull down the shutters on SJP and call it a day, eh?

  • 8 Slank // Aug 6, 2016 at 1:55 PM


    Being positive about last night, difficult as it may be, it did however highlight problems with team tactics, players positions and their abilities to Rafa which a draw or a win might have obscured.

    Rafa has a lot of work to do and hard choices to make but at least he has good players who haven’t played yet to choose from and is also not shy of money if he needs to spend.

    If we are going to lose best do it on the first day when we can only ever be at the most 3 points from our nearest rivals with a whole season ahead.

  • 9 YoungMagpieFromBurnley // Aug 6, 2016 at 1:55 PM

    Slanks first post looks like he grabbed a thesaurus and threw more aesthetically pleasing words into the mire to thus give himself a more intelligent tone.

    Obviously not the case though I’m only messing about, very well written and I must admit I agree with your point to some extent.

  • 10 NUFCPaul // Aug 6, 2016 at 1:58 PM

    JamesToon – of course you can let one win kill all positivity! I’ve seen how easily achieved this is over the past 24 hours.

  • 11 JamesToon // Aug 6, 2016 at 1:59 PM


    Definitely, one of the main problems was that our midfield was physically weak, we can now immediately resolve that, thanks to two of rafa’s purchases by playing Hayden and Diame, whilst we also have Tiote.

    Put it this way, say we got those 2 penalties and won the game 2-1, it may have given us 3 points but also may have papered over the cracks the real problems

  • 12 JamesToon // Aug 6, 2016 at 2:00 PM


    It really is frustrating, and is quite embarrassing really, ive even read people making comparisons between rafa and mccardew already!

  • 13 BandB // Aug 6, 2016 at 2:01 PM

    Fulham away was no cakewalk. Nor would it have been for two-thirds of the teams in the Premier League.
    Normally I’m not much of a one for turning things upside down in search of the bright side, but in this case, in this season, if there is a knee jerk swing to disillusion and recrimination it really could scupper the best chance of promotion we might get in a while.

  • 14 JamesToon // Aug 6, 2016 at 2:01 PM

    Fulhams been our bogey ground for like the last 6 years

  • 15 YoungMagpieFromBurnley // Aug 6, 2016 at 2:01 PM

    It just gets so frustrating when we lose a game and the inevitable downfall of optimism arises over the horizon. I guess if Martoon had asked everyone where we would finish after this game most would be suggesting relegation? We do tend to take it to extremes.

  • 16 JamesToon // Aug 6, 2016 at 2:02 PM


    Spot on very annoying

  • 17 JamesToon // Aug 6, 2016 at 2:03 PM

    Liked the look of tom cairney last night, he’d be a decent attacking mid for us.

  • 18 YoungMagpieFromBurnley // Aug 6, 2016 at 2:07 PM

    James, It’s the worst trait about our fanbase.

  • 19 Munster Mag // Aug 6, 2016 at 2:08 PM

    James i think mcclaren was quite clever on the tv. He showed up ashleys folly of buying players under 25 and highlighted that he could not manage. Lets face it, ifmcclaren had been boss last night we wud be killing him for buying / playing short arses and anita and ritchie out of position and sideways football. The sole positjve last nite was that it was only game 1. We better start hoping we get some power up front and pace/creativity .

  • 20 ROSHAN MAGPIE // Aug 6, 2016 at 2:09 PM

    people need to understand that this fulham team is not the same team which played last season and barely avoided relegation manger has brought in 3 new defenders and a new GK there pre season results were also good and there manager is a good manager who promoted watford

  • 21 Cyrus Varten // Aug 6, 2016 at 2:21 PM

    Play in the abysmal fashion that they did yesterday?

  • 22 Spacepyramids // Aug 6, 2016 at 3:34 PM

    I’m moving to Republic go Georgia in a couple of weeks for work. Wondering if someone on the blog lives there? Someone to celebrate/commiserate with as the season unfolds.

  • 23 BeeGuy // Aug 6, 2016 at 5:48 PM

    Anita will attack if he is given a key to the 18 yard box by the opposing captain.
    There is no attacking midfielder in the squad unless Diame can do it.
    Mbemba is the best in the middle
    Why does no one pass to Dummit?
    The central defense needs to come across the half way line, it is legal.

previous post: Report – Newcastle In For Premier League Defender

next post: Sissoko – What It Would Take To Leave Newcastle