An Area Of The Team Rafa Has Completely Transformed


The Newcastle defense so far this season has been very strong and it’s an area of the team that Rafa has improved and is now much stronger than it’s been for at least the last four seasons.

In those four seasons in the Premier League we conceded a massive 255 goals, but Graham Carr kept bringing in wingers rather than significantly strengthening the defense.

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Captain Jamaal Lascelles in action for Newcastle
Love the green boots


In the last four seasons going back from last season we conceded 65, 63, 59 and a massive 68 goals in the 2012-2013 season – the most we have ever conceded in the Premier League.

Rafa Benitez has changed all that and has strengthened a number of weak areas in the team and that should have been done years ago at Newcastle.

It was only common sense Rafa showed when he brought in defenders like Ciaran Clark, Grant Hanley, DeAndre Yedlin, Jesus Gamez and Achraf Lazaar.

He also put Vurnon Anita at right back and the Dutch International looks a real class player in that position.

It wasn’t exactly rocket science to realize  a huge weakness in the Newcastle side last season under Steve McClaren was our defense.

At the center of that defense is captain Jamaal Lascelles and after a shaky start in early August, Jamaal is now improving his game and at the end of the season the 22 year-old could be a top center-back and he’s  certainly looking the part.

Jamaal has also shown terrific leadership skills both on and off the field.

He was asked about the club’s defensive record and this is what he said:

“As a centre-half, that’s my job – keeping clean sheets. Collectively, as a team, everyone’s playing their part.”

“Karl Darlow was unbelievable against Barnsley. He made some great catches and saves. The boys are working hard as a unit. We all know our roles.”

“Before the game, we knew it was going to be tough.” “Barnsley on a Tuesday night is not an easy place to come.” “The style of football they played is quite difficult.”

“It was difficult break them down.” “In fairness to them, we didn’t really create much. Our talent and hard work came through at the end.”

“It’s always nice when the strikers are banging them in like that.” “At the same time, he’s getting great deliveries from midfield – everyone’s playing a part.”

“Dwight’s up there to do that and he’s doing his job. He’s got to keep his feet on the floor and keep working hard.”

We probably need to keep a clean sheet tomorrow against Ipswich Town if we are to get our 5th win in a row and then we play Preston North-End on Tuesday night at home in the 4th round of the EFL Cup.

Games are coming thick and fast after the International break.

How Will Newcastle Fare Against Ipswich Town?

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71 comments so far

  • Mag52

    Oct 21, 2016 at 9:55 AM

    Comment #1

    Rotonda.

    While Simpson is giving a very good account of himself in the Champions League these days.

    0
  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #2

    Ibiza,
    Very well thank you, if the big tough Jib thinks that was painful then he’s more likely to have been a tiddly winks player for the St John’s ambulance agoraphobic brigade than a covert SAS man.

    0
  • toonincheek

    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:10 AM

    Comment #3

    Mag52 –

    As did Ronnie !

    0
  • toonincheek

    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:11 AM

    Comment #4

    From a few threads ago –

    • 45 Jib // Oct 21, 2016 at 6:41 AM
    “Shearer had won nothing at NUFC – should be !”
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Except the adulation of the Geordie nation.
    And a statue outside the ground.
    And – Playing with words and meanings – perhaps.
    For me, SBR ‘won’ European Cup qualification a few times.

    0
  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:11 AM

    Comment #5

    Mag52,
    Not as a CB though. Absolutely ridiculous decision to keep only three CB’s that season especially after the perennially injured ST got injured against Chelsea.

    0
  • Ibizatoon

    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #6

    Jail…Pleased to hear it. So all set for Ipswich tomorrow then?

    0
  • WWSBRD

    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:26 AM

    Comment #7

    I dont see any reason why we would be after Kadar except for his home grown status

    toonincheek
    Ur fighting a losing battle Jib hates Shearer and Keegan for reasons only known to himself

    0
  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:27 AM

    Comment #8

    Most definitely, just the bairn will have to sit in her own seat.

    0
  • WWSBRD

    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:28 AM

    Comment #9

    Jail
    Glad to hear it went well, sat on ice cubes now?

    0
  • toonincheek

    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:35 AM

    Comment #10

    What W SBR D

    Yeah – must be tough for him to have to walk past the statue!

    0
  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #11

    WW…,
    Jib hates KK and Shearer because he has more respect for a whistle blowing scumbag like Mike Ashley.

    0
  • Ron Knee

    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:40 AM

    Comment #12

    Confirmed Rafa Bingo line-up:-

    Darlow
    Anita Lascelles Clark Dummett
    Shelvey Hayden
    Ritchie Diamé Gouffran
    Gayle

    0
  • Ibizatoon

    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:40 AM

    Comment #13

    If I’m not mistaken, Jib also takes exception to the way they raised expectations of the fan base, then there’s the matter of all those new fans they gained for the club.

    They may not have “won” anything in the traditional sense, but for me, they are 100% winners. Since when do we Newcastle fans judge people by silverware won? It’s an emotional ride in the main part.

    0
  • clinath@ed

    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #14

    Lets have a go…

    Confirmed Rafa Bingo line-up:-

    _________Darlow
    Anita Lascelles Clark Dummett
    ____Shelvey Hayden
    ___Ritchie Gouffran Atsu
    _________Gayle

    0
  • beermonkey

    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:44 AM

    Comment #15

    jail

    good morning

    so do feel any calmer
    did u bite the postman today
    or are just on the sofa waiting for your belly to be rubbed

    0
  • WWSBRD

    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #16

    toonincheek
    Not sure he ever does walk past it mate

    JfA
    He loves Pedro as well mate unlike the rest of us apparently

    0
  • Rotonda heights

    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:53 AM

    Comment #17

    Jib

    From previous thread. I was almost going with it till you forgot yourself and made it laughable that you should call anyone else a pompous p—k with your last line.

    I think you’ll find Kadar was available but AP didn’t rate him and that season was AP’s only really good one in how many years management?

    Going on your record for accuracy I rest my case. Ordinarily people live and learn, but you, you just live.

    0
  • toonincheek

    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:54 AM

    Comment #18

    WWSBRD –
    Just to add some perspective.

    We ALL love Pedro as a player.
    Just have reservations as a coach.

    0
  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:56 AM

    Comment #19

    Beer monkey,
    I couldn’t even muster a growl at the postman, just slobbered.

    0
  • Jail for Ashley

    Oct 21, 2016 at 10:58 AM

    Comment #20

    We all lovedo Pedro as a player but took exception to his brown nosing of Ashley knowing the policy on cups and zero ambition.

    0
  • beermonkey

    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:07 AM

    Comment #21

    jail

    surly porn sex would have been a better option

    if pedro and his coaches train the kids the way rafa wants
    also they should be playing the same formation and style as the first team as it make the transition easier
    i dont think pedro will do to bad
    the problem is the academy has been neglected by all the previous manager

    jib
    what were your thoughts on harper coming back to the club

    0
  • WWSBRD

    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:25 AM

    Comment #22

    I love Pedro too lads but Jib decided I didn’t

    Anyway let’s not discuss Jib anymore

    Ipswich up next anyone reckon we will struggle?

    0
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:28 AM

    Comment #23

    Wouldn’t be surprised if Rafa finally decided to rest Diame and put him on the bench.

    Rafa barmy bingo team

    Darlow
    Anita Lascelles Clarke Dummett
    Shelvey Colback
    Ritchie Gouffron Atzu
    Gayle

    The back four are so predictable, did anyone choose differently?

    Hayden and Colback are are a tricky choice, they are possibly the most rotated players although Hayden is seemingly becoming the favoured one.

    And up top is where he often surprises us but not as often as we expect him to.

    0
  • JamesToon

    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:29 AM

    Comment #24

    Still feel like Rafa is gonna make 2/3 changes for Ipswich:

    I reckon:
    Darlow
    Yedlin Lascelles Clark Lazaar
    Hayden Shelvey
    Ritchie Perez Gouffran
    Gayle

    Then against Preston:
    Sels
    Yedlin Mbemba Hanley Gamez
    Tiote Colback
    Atsu Murphy Lazaar
    Mitrovic

    0
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:29 AM

    Comment #25

    WWSBRD

    NO!! We’ll hammer them.

    0
  • JamesToon

    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:30 AM

    Comment #26

    Essex

    I want to see Yedlin and Lazaar given a go, keep Ritchie and Gouffran ahead of them as they will track back and help them out.

    0
  • WWSBRD

    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #27

    Essex
    Haha I’d agree though they do have super Leon Best

    On ur back 4 question I think we will see Yedlin, is Haidara fit now? Could see him getting in the team soon if he is

    0
  • Ibizatoon

    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:38 AM

    Comment #28

    Yo…I haven’t watched Ipswich this season, so can only work off what I’ve read. The goals scored / conceded seem to indicate they’re hard to break down and don’t throw attack after attack.

    Not sure I’m expecting a rout, but we should have what’s needed to get the 3 points.

    0
  • firebug666

    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:41 AM

    Comment #29

    Confirmed Rafa Bingo line-up

    Darlow

    Yedlin—-Lascelles—-Clark—-Dummet

    Shelvey—-Colback

    Richie—-Gayle—-Gouffran

    Mitrovic

    Mitro has to get a game soon, maybe it will be tomorrow.

    0
  • JamesToon

    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:41 AM

    Comment #30

    Ibiza

    You know what Mick McCarthy teams are like, it will be hoofball from them.

    0
  • Ibizatoon

    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #31

    James…Tbf, I didn’t even know he was their manager 🙂

    0
  • WWSBRD

    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:45 AM

    Comment #32

    Ibiza
    Me either mate I expect them to sit deep and look for a draw so it’ll be down to us to keep going

    They do have a solid defence but we should have enough to break them down personally I’d prefer fast FBs to really pin them in hence I think Yedlin will start and maybe even Lazaar

    0
  • Ibizatoon

    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:48 AM

    Comment #33

    Yo…Based on James’ comment about them being long ball merchants, I’d think Rafa will be keen to keep his defense in place and leave the attackers to break down their defense.

    I’m not playing Rafa Bingo yet. I’m waiting until say March and then plan to sweep the league with a late run. So far I’m still tied in joint second place with everyone else, bar that smug firebug and his cheating ways 😉

    0
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:50 AM

    Comment #34

    I see that Luka Modric is getting a pay hike from RM, to think we nearly signed him once. Although those were the days when he’d have been through the revolving let’s make a profit and s*d the team.

    0
  • clinath@ed

    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #35

    Ibiza…I didn’t play for the first few game, but kept my personal records and got MAXIMUM points, but as soon as I started to post them, it all went to sh!t………..honest.

    0
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:53 AM

    Comment #36

    Ibiza

    So it’s 3 correct predictions so far?

    0
  • firebug666

    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:55 AM

    Comment #37

    Ibiza

    I am not smug, a cheat maybe but never smug 😀

    Oh and last week someone else joined me in the 5 point league, that’s that place where us that get it right go mate.

    …..Oh wait was I being smug there LMAO!

    0
  • JamesToon

    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:55 AM

    Comment #38

    I predict that by the end of the season, this will become our strongest team:

    Darlow
    Yedlin Lascelles Clark Lazaar
    Hayden Shelvey
    Ritchie Diame (hoping he’ll come good) Atsu
    Gayle

    0
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #39

    James

    I’m with Ibiza on this I don;t think Rafa will compromise his defense. Our midfield and forwards should have the beating of them.

    0
  • WWSBRD

    Oct 21, 2016 at 11:59 AM

    Comment #40

    Ibiza
    Anita adds nothing to defence against long balls mate plus they will be pumping long balls up to 1 player which Lascelles will be dealing with whilst Clark/Mbemba deals with recycling the ball

    As for Dummett he might keep his place but I’d still prefer Lazaar or Haidara

    0

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