Rafa Benitez Analyzing The Current Situation At Newcastle

In the last two games Newcastle have picked up four injuries while hardly picking up any injuries at all this season in our games.

We have lost Aleksandar Mitrovic (knee), Dwight Gayle (hamstring), Isaac Hayden (groin) and Vurnon Anita (ankle) with Mitro out from two to four weeks and we still don’t have a prognosis on the three players injured yesterday.

The good news is that we have Jonjo Shelvey coming back on Wednesday night against Birmingham City in the FA Cup replay, from his five game suspension and Jonjo should be able set up the chances.

We just need somebody to put those chances in the back of the net.

Rafa Benitez on the touchline at Griffin Park

This is what Rafa has said in the Chronicle when asked if the latest injuries at the club will force him to move in the transfer market:

“We are working on that, we will see what we can do.” “The ideal situation would be to get the right players, not just to get players.”

“We are working on that and seeing if we can do something or not this week.”  “At the moment I think we have to wait and speak to the doctors.” 

“I will speak to my people and we will decide, but we have to analyse where we are and see what we can do.”

“We have to analyse all the options because obviously we have lost some players.”

“Sammy Ameobi and Jamie Sterry cannot play in the cup, so we need to analyse the options.”

“He may have to play. Or I may have to play.”

At the moment we have Daryl Murphy and Ayoze Perez and maybe Yoan Gouffran who are players who can play up front as the lone striker, if Rafa plays in his usual 4-2-3-1 formation.

We would expect Daryl and Ayoze to start the game against Birmingham City with Perez again playing in the number 10 position in a team much changed from Saturday’s starting eleven at Griffin Park.

We play bottom of the table Rotherham United on Saturday and they beat a 10 man Norwich side 2-1  at home last Saturday for their fourth win of the season.

But no game is easy in the Championship – we have found that out – and we remember the Millers gave us a very tough game at the New York Stadium and we scraped through to win it 1-0.

Comments welcome.

26 comments so far

  • Tsunki

    Jan 15, 2017 at 11:19 PM

    Comment #1

    Doh Ray me far so lah tee doh tee lah so far me Ray dohhh.

    Ashley Out!

    Just practicing, you understand. Like to keep in shape.

  • jane

    Jan 15, 2017 at 11:29 PM

    Comment #2

    you remembered his name i see

  • lesh

    Jan 16, 2017 at 1:42 AM

    Comment #3

    Rafa’s language suggests, to me anyway, that he’s been told to use what he’s got. Yes, the mention of Ashley coupled with the lack of incomers so far worries me.

    We need a key signing to tell us that Rafa’s in charge.

  • lesh

    Jan 16, 2017 at 1:44 AM

    Comment #4


    You’re in fine voice. What’s wet your whistle enough to bring on the singing? 😐

  • lesh

    Jan 16, 2017 at 1:46 AM

    Comment #5


    Whose name did somebody remember?

  • Chris

    Jan 16, 2017 at 4:34 AM

    Comment #6


    “Rafa’s language suggests, to me anyway, that he’s been told to use what he’s got….”

    My take on it is slightly different

    His language suggests to me that the recent article in the Mirror (which claimed that Ashley has “put his foot down” and is demanding a greater say in transfers) is pure fabrication. For example, the article states:

    “Benitez himself wanted just one new face during this window – he was looking for cover for Christian Atsu, who has departed on Africa Cup of Nations duty.”

    That is completely wrong because it’s quite clear from Rafa’s comments that, ideally, he’s looking to bring in more than one player. And if you read the article yourselves you might notice one or two other things that aren’t quite right. As well as making stuff up, the author (Neil Moxley) didn’t do his homework properly either.

    I’m usually a bit sceptical about conspiracy theories, but I think this commenter made an interesting observation:

    utter drivel – how do you get away with making up lies and printing them ? Ashley met the players to wish them luck b4 FA Cup match and has since left the country for a holiday. Funny how a midlands based hack suddenly gets an ‘exclusive’ 4 day before the FA Cup replay vs Birmingham. Trying to unsettle the league leaders – don’t worry, you’ll not be bothered about NUFC come May as we’ll be in the Prem and Villa will be struggling mid championship”

  • newcs

    Jan 16, 2017 at 5:12 AM

    Comment #7

    I don’t understand why they don’t just analyse the options.

  • Veltman

    Jan 16, 2017 at 5:26 AM

    Comment #8

    Neil Moxley,nice name by the way.
    Always liked the idea of signing players that are 26 and under.So that they will have time to develop and learn the style of play.Posada has been making good points on Townsend and Rafa’s signings,
    which i completely agree with.In all fairness,most of his signings are dross.
    I respect Rafa,but he’s not beyond criticism as he is human,not something else.Already lost 7 games,which is hardly a promotion form.So it’s not surprising if the owner sidestepped and check things out and amend things because you can’t blindly claim everything is 100% rosy.I still have big concern whether to acheive an automatic promotion with the current squad.When he does something right,he’ll be credited.When he does something wrong,he’ll be criticized like any other manager.End of!

  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:00 AM

    Comment #9

    Not being from the North East you won’t be able to see the effect that he has had on reconnecting the club with the fans, the negative opinions on here aren’t shared by anyone else.

  • Thump

    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:05 AM

    Comment #10

    @Veltman: We’re on par with our last promotion push. The points we have lost are the points we gained in draws last time around. It’s concerning that we aren’t pushing for more draws, but I don’t think it brings our promotion chances into question.

    Boro came up last season after losing 9, the season before Bournmouth and Watford lost 8 and 11 respectively. I’m not sure on how many they had lost at this stage of the season (a bit too much work to look into before leaving for work!), but I don’t think we’re at panic stations yet.

  • Ian Toon

    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:06 AM

    Comment #11

    It seems to me that the mood on here has for whatever reason been lifted – Jib continues his investigative posting which I welcome. As someone said on a football blog there are no winners and losers; just opinions.
    Returning, I see still the striped blazered members in a Monty Python sketch repeatedly croaking ” Very well not played , very well not played”. In happier times – before his second coming – I also recall Ibizatoon telling me that there is a place for everyone on the blog with the common denominator being that of a toon fan. I personally welcome the diversity of Blackley, Jib, Belfast, Tsunki and the like. I also see where Munster Mag is coming from because he has a good record of “calling it right”.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:09 AM

    Comment #12

    Ian Toon,
    Does that mean carl, pushy and Jack Root will be returning to the fold.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:13 AM

    Comment #13

    I’m not sure how you push for a draw?

  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:27 AM

    Comment #14

    Most of his signings are dross? The championship top scorer, Ciaran Clarke who has been solid throughout, Murphy who has trained hard uncomplaining all season grabs a vital three points yesterday, Matt Ritchie has been excellent most of the season and Hanley has done a job when asked, mostly dross?

  • G

    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:27 AM

    Comment #15

    @13 think George Graham’s Arsenal vs 1980’s Everton. That’s how I would imagine it would go mate.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:30 AM

    Comment #16

    I can understand why certain teams would set up for a draw away to Chelsea or Man U or why a Rotherham would when they visit us by why would we push for a draw unless we’ve gone behind.

  • G

    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:36 AM

    Comment #17

    @16 search me mate, personally I’m more of the ‘go for the throat’ type fan. Every game can be won, by any 11 players vs any proven team. Annoyingly certain opposition have worked this out too and went and damned well beaten us.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:44 AM

    Comment #18

    Moanster has a record of calling it right, he has a good revord of stating the bleedin obvious and is noted in his absence after a win.

  • Ian Toon

    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:44 AM

    Comment #19

    David Hills writing in The Observer, wrote of football as it really is. Of there being a handful of genuinely loyal players, but many of even the most revered icons bear little resemblance to the mythology. John Terry, for instance, used an approach by Manchester City in 2009 to leverage an enhanced offer from Chelsea, increasing his wages to a then astonishing £150,000 a week. Bilic “all players know, if anyone gets the chance of a big club, he must take it” – that was him as a WHU player. Seeing the criticism of Townsend and a possible return I am reminded of big Al Shearer my boyhood hero and his contract shenanigans with Fat Freddy to constantly remain as the highest paid player.
    I personally don’t question Terry for seeking a better contract; but I do retain the right to recognise his hypocrisy having got it. Despite having been silent for most of the summer while his agent threatened his departure he issued this announcement after the new contract was signed: “I am totally committed to Chelsea and always have been.” In much the same way, Diego Costa tweeted a blue love heart on Saturday as his team-mates, deprived of his company, defeated Leicester City.

    So, why can’t fans see through the charade? Anyone with common sense should be aware that loyalty in football is a currency used to curry favour until the precise moment it can be cashed in. This is loyalty as make-believe, It’s a myth. Hearing the virginal, Toon Army travelling fan telling of the chanting of Goofy’s name; it simply reminds the more astute, that the player whose name they chant reciprocates their fidelity that they ignore the fact his agent could well now be on the phone to Shanghai. Mind, we’ve long since stopped chanting anything nice about Tiote.

    On a more serious note, I personally see merit in clubs suing players who don’t turn up to training for breach of contract. They should also litigate against players who exaggerate injuries. Contracts do have legal status and agents should be reminded.

    Seeing and talking to toon fans reminds me that the only true loyalty in football is that of fans towards their team. This is the loyalty to the club when they are relegated, to go to away games, with an early start after a long working week and on a snowy day with difficult travelling. The fixture list always has the last word in any family arrangement; friends and family understand, or at least accept, that weddings or any family gatherings, can only be arranged after fixtures are determined following potential intervention by Sky and BT.

  • cyprus

    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:46 AM

    Comment #20

    I understand what Rafa means when he says we need to learn how to draw.

    And, in say three games, two draws and a loss feels better than two losses and a win.

    But the latter is better in terms of points. If we win just half our remaining games and draw a couple we should get automatic promotion. Go for wins Rafa.

  • cyprus

    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:53 AM

    Comment #21

    Well thought out regarding players’ loyalty.

    Still, a contract doesn’t make you anyone’s property or a prisoner.

    When one of the two parties wants to break it off, it should be doable, with whatever ramifications that entails, of course.

    For me, if a player wants out, thanks, have a good career. You don’t want to play with me, bye.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:54 AM

    Comment #22

    I can understand the term learning not to lose but as I say unless you’ve gone behind why would you want to draw?

  • Ian Toon

    Jan 16, 2017 at 7:59 AM

    Comment #23

    With Jail mentioning Jack Root can I take the opportunity on a football blog to congratulate Joe on the birth of Alfred William.

  • cyprus

    Jan 16, 2017 at 8:00 AM

    Comment #24

    On players, I have a feeling (and hope) Ameobi will start and star in a couple games.

    We need a creative attacking MF as well, in this window.

    Don’t know how serious our CF injury troubles are.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Jan 16, 2017 at 8:07 AM

    Comment #25

    Luckily we have Daryl Murphy fit and ready and dying for his chance, with two strikers and Gouffran already at the club that signing simply would not have happened with Churnley calling the shots.

  • DubaiMicky

    Jan 16, 2017 at 8:59 AM

    Comment #26

    We have 11 players injured at AKoN or cup tied, Rafa Bingo is going to be interesting on Wednesday.


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