Rafa Benitez Could Keep Playing His Strongest Side In FA Cup

It was worrying to see Jamaal Lascelles leave the field after we had gone 1-0 up on Saturday through Ayoze Perez.

But it was good news on the captain yesterday and he came off only as a precaution and he is fine and will be training tomorrow.

Our next game is a crucial one at home to bottom club Swansea on Saturday and it will not be easy – they will be very well organized.

But we have to go all out and try to get all 3 points on Saturday.

We were helped by playing well and getting a good 3-1 win against Luton on Saturday in the FA Cup, and that was our first win at home since back on October 21st when we took Crystal Palace apart 1-0.


It was also good to get 3 goals even if it was against League Two opposition.

Jamaal Lascelles – Newcastle captain

Ayoze Perez continued to score and hot a brace and Jonjo Shelvey opened his account for the season.

It was a terrific crowd of 47,069 at St James’s Park and Benitez fielded a side that would not have looked out of place in the Premier League.

This is what Jamaal has said about the game as reported in the Shields Gazette:

“A lot of times you see managers pick lesser teams in the cups, but our manager named a strong one,”

“He said to me before the game that we want to go out there and win and see how far we can get.

“He didn’t have to rest anyone because we don’t have another game for a week.”

“Every game we play we want to win. “I thought the boys conducted themselves really well.”

“We’re in a position where we do need to focus on the Premier League, but we knew we had a good chance against Luton.”

“We want to see how far we can get in the cup without taking our eye off the league for one minute.”

“Obviously, you fancy your chances more in the cup the longer you’re in it. “Your preparation has got to be the same whether it’s your first game in the cup or the final.”

“You’ve got to have the same focus for every game.”

“Ayoze has scored two goals, and that gives him more belief. Jonjo was due a goal as well.”

“Different people are scoring for us, and it’s important that it’s not just one or two. “The whole team’s starting to get goals now.”

“It’s definitely a confidence booster, and now we’re really looking forward to Saturday.”

“Everybody wants to play and is pleased to be picked – that wasn’t always the case. “In the past, some players may have looked to have this weekend off after the busy period.”

“It certainly wouldn’t happen now. “We have a good group of lads here and everyone wants the same thing.”

“Yes, it’s something I would love to do (win the FA Cup). That would be a dream come true for me.”

“I lifted the Championship trophy last season, and would love to lift the cup.”

“But it’ll be tough. A lot of teams want to win it and will fancy their chances. But you never know.” 

“I’m fine,” “I felt it go a little bit and took no chances. It’s nothing, really, and I’ll be training Tuesday.”

“I felt it a bit and didn’t want to make it worse. “I think I made the right decision to come off and get it right for Swansea.”

It’s a much easier schedule in the Premier League than the Championship unless we qualify for Europe then it’s just as bad if not worse than the Championship schedule.

The key to an FA Cup run this year is that we can pull away from the bottom of the league and we get another couple of decent draws.

As Jamaal says the players don’t really need to be rested and Rafa may even be able to turn this season around by doing a couple of things.

We need to pull away from the relegation zone (quickly) and then have a good run in the FA Cup.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

144 comments so far

  • expatmag

    Jan 8, 2018 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #1

    Hasnt this thread been done already?

  • Mag52

    Jan 8, 2018 at 10:17 AM

    Comment #2


    See #10 previous thread.

  • expatmag

    Jan 8, 2018 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #3


    Noted……and subsequently ignored….jog on


    Yes. I realise the implications involved but there must be ways around it all…..legal loopholes to be investigated.

    Another issue which should be looked into by the PL and TV companies is a form of monetary reward for the three promoted teams, possibly taken from the money given to the 3 relegated teams, to enable them to be more competitive with the rest of the PL

  • Tsunki

    Jan 8, 2018 at 10:47 AM

    Comment #4

    Expat – ?

    Heatstroke there? 🙂

  • expatmag

    Jan 8, 2018 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #5


    No mate. We were lucky down in Melbourne as opposed to Sydney. We only had the heat for one day. On Saturday, it reached 43 here by 5pm. By 7pm, we had a cool change that dropped the temperature back to 23.

  • Tsunki

    Jan 8, 2018 at 10:58 AM

    Comment #6

    We are up to a balmy -4°C here in Durham ha ha and getting warmer. Not T Shirt weather yet. Took a while to scrape the ice off the car this morning.

  • Tsunki

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #7

    So a strong side to keep the playing staff ticking over but no risks with injuries. You can bet the drop off in the second half was partly due to instructions to let the game tick over and not get hurt, conserve energy. But of course we had captain catchy and his depleted crew still moaning about performance.

    I fear for welshies mob this week.

  • martoon

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:04 AM

    Comment #8

    expatmag – I agree with you that there needs to be measures brought in such as transfer, wages caps etc. to try and prevent the top teams being so far ahead of the rest of the Premiership. Otherwise we are going to end up with a lot more games similar to City v NUFC, I think we saw West Ham doing a similar thing against Spurs the other day!

  • martoon

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:11 AM

    Comment #9

    Tsunki @7 – I think you’re right we definitely eased up in the second half – not sure if this was instructions from Rafa or in the players’s heads? I think some of the weekend results show that League 1 & 2 teams are no mugs and I thought it was a very comprehensive display against a flying & confident Luton.

  • expatmag

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #10


    I havent experienced that temperature since Xmas 2010……lol……but sometimes, I wish I could again……like last saturday.


    Look at City. Not one home raised player in their team. I heard today they are already targeting Harry McGuire from Leicester. Guardiola is BUYING the PL.title and will try to do the same thing with the champions league.

    It has to stop.

  • Bobbybee

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:20 AM

    Comment #11

    Leicester City apart, every team that has won the league has bought it technically. Manure used to be the top spending team and won it regularly. Then Chelsea, now City.
    FFP has become a joke and only effects smaller clubs. As long as City are allowed to be given 400m to name their stadium what chance anybody else of competing?

  • lochinvar

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:23 AM

    Comment #12

    Would you like teams to stop buying the title before or after we’ve had the chance to do the same ?

    Just feel that there’s an unstoppable momentum in the financial driven rush to franchise football teams aka Mercedes and Ferrari. It already exists with Barcelona , Real Madrid and City leading the stampeded.

    Choice now is can clubs like Newcastle be a Red Bull or Lotus level club or will we remain to become the top club in F2 as the F1 Elite go global .

  • DubaiMicky

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:27 AM

    Comment #13

    Which begs the question I asked earlier, does the “bored” want us to be up there with the Torro Rosso/Williams teams, at least battling it out in the top tear, but having sold our club into corporate cash, or do we want to sit in the F2 world, where we won’t be on TV very often – a bit like being in the Championship?

  • DubaiMicky

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:28 AM

    Comment #14

    *tier for the pedants out there – but yes, I meant “bored”.

  • expatmag

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:31 AM

    Comment #15


    I want us to be treated the same way as any other team and that is to win matches titles cups etc on merit and not by expenditure alone.

    I watched several good young players in a game this afternoon who potentially could be tremendous prospects at domestic and international level.

    But it is doubtful they will get the chance because of the attitude and spending power of the top6

  • expatmag

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #16


    just as an aside, how successful do you think Moaninho Guardiola and Conti would be if they had the budget Rafa has been given to date?

  • clinath@ed

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:36 AM

    Comment #17

    of those 3 i think Guardiola is the only out n out coach who could motivate any team.

  • Bobbybee

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:36 AM

    Comment #18

    Ashley is typical of the owners we’ve always had. SJH apart – although even he took a fortune out the club towards the end – we’ve never had a decent owner.
    Problem is, many of our fans, only came aboard following the SJH takeover, but before that it was as bad as it is now. And following that wasn’t too clever either, it just took time for the decline to set in.
    I’m just hoping this takeover happens and whoever she’s buying for at least treats us as something other than a cash cow. Speculate to accumulate will do me.
    I’m not holding my breath though. Not getting carried away. Yes, anybody is likely to be better than Ashley – difficult to be worse to be fair – but if it’s an investment company the clue’s in the name.

  • Chancel My MBembaship

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:46 AM

    Comment #19

    Tsunki -4°C is balmy compared to here! We hit -18°C the other day. I took at screen shot so I could remember it when I’m suffering through the summer here 🙂

  • Bobbybee

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:48 AM

    Comment #20

    I don’t think any of them could do what Rafa has done. Everywhere they’ve gone they’ve been backed heavily recently and have probably lost what they had when they started.
    A better question would be could Rafa do what they’ve done with unlimited funds? Yes, he could.
    The only reason we’re not bottom and cut adrift imo is Rafa and his ability. We’re basically a Championship team keeping their heads above water against teams that have spent more money. Even Huddersfield and Brighton improved. All we bought worth having was Merino and potentially Murphy and Lejeune. Lejeune has been injured and Murphy only just starting to show his quality – despite being bought as a future prospect.
    Rafa has proved his pedigree and class by sticking with us. Those others would be out the door pronto.

  • Tsunki

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:49 AM

    Comment #21

    Ashley hasn’t been the only sports retail businessman to latch onto the potential of using a sporting institution as a brand leveraging tool but you won’t find many as successful and by definition cynical.

    However there is bigger game in this market for those that see revenue not in plugging their sports brands overseas, but by consolidating all that merchandising and advertising under the one brand, the club itself, which Ashley hasn’t been able to go. Probably because he sold the club to the lowest common denominator, like all his other brands.

    Successful and much richer clubs have never stopped to devalue their own club brand in order to push tat to the masses, nor I suspect will a new owner of this club. There is more money than ever on the horizon, and it requires the attentions of those with bigger credit facilities and budgets than Mike. By a long way.

  • Tsunki

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #22

    Anyone think we wouldn’t have the weight of Swansea on our shoulders if our manager was sparky Hughes or … Hardly dare mention his name…. Mr P. ?

  • expatmag

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:53 AM

    Comment #23


    If you look at Guardiolas set up, it is quite basic really relying on the very basics of the game with offensively, movement off the ball and using the pitch width primarily and defensively, hunting in packs forcing quick turnovers to regain possession at the earliest opportunity.

    Most coaches at any level should be setting up drills and practice matches incorporating these facets of tge game and drilled into players daily. Then, you can work the rest of your game plan around tbe basics

  • fog on the tyne

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #24

    Any takeover news from our resident ITK’s? Didnt Hibbit say he was in a meeting with his contact down london today? Starting to get excited, hopefully we will know something this week!!

  • Belfast

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #25

    The big problem they have now is clamping down on the ridiculous spending just leaves you with the status quo. The Psg’s and Man City’s remain at the top of the tree. The so called lesser clubs can’t get anywhere near them or they’d be breaking the rules.

    The whole thing is a sham. But I suppose it’s still better than Man United being out on their own and nobody being able to compete financially with them like it was years ago.

  • Drew

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #26

    Bookies have Shelvey nailed on to leave for West Ham…. Hope it’s for top dollar!

  • Tsunki

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:59 AM

    Comment #27

    Just as an aside, thinking about our throwback cousins from across the Wear, should the day come that the unwashed rabble find themselves without a club due to insolvency, what will happen to the flyblown shifting mass of support? I doubt that enough generations would pass before mackems sons and daughters would turncoat and pledge allegiance to the black and white, so would this mean migrating to smogland or the mighty Hartlepool? Could a shifting tide of scum rejuvenate one of our fume clouded neighbours to be the next derby opponent of note?

  • Bobbybee

    Jan 8, 2018 at 12:02 PM

    Comment #28

    Expat, the only problem is you can only play that way if the players you have have the ability to do so.
    The way City play with the one touch dismantling of defences takes incredible skill. The speed they move the ball from player to player is eye-watering and simply not possible without the very best players. All it takes is one player to ping the ball wrong and the move falls flat, leaving the break on.
    We certainly couldn’t do it with our players. Gayle can’t control a ball, let alone put it on a plate to the next player! 🙂 He traps it like a wall. The move would fall flat the second he got involved.
    Not just him either. We’ve seen it time after time, players simply incapable of playing a five yard pass accurately.

  • DubaiMicky

    Jan 8, 2018 at 12:04 PM

    Comment #29

    Scum won’t go under as such, they’ll be reborn like Rangers or AFC Wimbledon.

  • Bobbybee

    Jan 8, 2018 at 12:05 PM

    Comment #30

    *a one touch five yard pass.

  • OneAlanShearer

    Jan 8, 2018 at 12:05 PM

    Comment #31

    The bookies are always giving tiny odds for players to sign for clubs giving the impression it’s a certainty which it rarely is. Only way shelvey is leaving is if we have a whole raft of signings agreed already. No chance rafa would risk it otherwise.

  • DubaiMicky

    Jan 8, 2018 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #32

    From Mark Douglas on Facebook:-

    So now the dust has settled on the weekend’s wholly satisfactory FA Cup win (barring a second half that illustrated why it’s so important to play a full-strength team), I thought I’d post an update on the takeover as there’s still plenty of interest and we’ve seen in the last week a few incorrigible claims on Twitter in particular that “it is done” that “club staff have been briefed” and a few misguided blogs and claims about business activity that have falsely raised hope of an imminent deal. So, to surmise:

    Why hasn’t it happened?

    Simply, the two parties left things after the last round of talks with a distance between them on valuation. £50m is the claimed figure which is about right. There are areas of agreement which point to something getting agreed in the medium-term, but until that gap is bridged one way or another, it’s not going to go through.
    These things take time, so don’t be unduly alarmed. But the longer it goes without an agreement, the more scope there is for either side to either walk away, change their asking price/valuation (which may happen if the club pull away from relegation or get dragged into it) or generally undermine the agreements they have so far.

    Who are PCP Capital Partners and if they’re so rich, why don’t they up their offer?

    Let’s be brutally honest: we know very little about Amanda Staveley or PCP Capital Partners. What we do know – which feels quite exciting – has come from briefings encouraged by her own people, so have to – in my opinion – be taken with a pinch of salt. But my understanding is they’re serious business people looking to make NUFC profitable by sensible but substantial investment. I don’t think it would be a case of a Man City-style bonanza: I’m fairly certain the club would need to be profitable down the line
    And that, ladies and gents, is why she won’t “just pay the price” Mike Ashley wants. After long due diligence her valuation is, she believes, a sensible one. She won’t pay more.

    What happened in December when the deal was reported as ‘almost done’?

    There was a surge of excitement based on progress made in talks between the two parties. Agreements seemed to be in place and people very important to the deal seemed to be agreeing that we were very close. But the excitement subsided because – crucially – the price remained the sticking point.
    Based on what happened in those few days, you feel a deal could get done very quickly. But at the same time, all parties are a bit more cautious now.

    Will it get done?

    The £350m question. My educated guess is it will but if it drags towards the end of the season, a lot will depend where Newcastle are in the league, if they stay in the Premier League and if Ashley fancies waiting it out to see how lucrative the new TV deal is and lots of other factors. Unless there’s a big breakthrough when Ashley returns from the US (not inconceivable), we might have a few more weeks of uncertainty yet.

    Why the social media rumours?

    Some are undoubtedly well-intentioned. Micky Quinn’s update on Friday night was interesting: he knows a few of the Rafa circle and people around the takeover (they were also interested in a Liverpool takeover) but there’s a lot of nervousness and jumpiness and I think there’s been a few social media ITK accounts jumping on that of late to perhaps build up their followings among NUFC fans (it is January, prime time for this nonsense), which is not really responsible.
    Tyneside is always like this about Newcastle United. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told something is gospel when someone at the club who is the focus of the rumour has literally told me the exact opposite!
    It’s frustrating, I get it. But we’ll check out, source and double source everything we hear. And then report it whether it’s perceived as good or bad news.

    Is it armageddon if it doesn’t get done?

    So Mike Ashley stays and it’s the end of NUFC, right? Well not quite. I think it’s time for him to go and let someone with fresh finance and initiative have a go. United desperately need that and I think Ashley recognises that. It says it all that Staveley has been at SJP more than Ashley this season, with the latter not even turning up for the club’s 125th birthday celebrations.
    If Ashley is still here at the end of the season, Newcastle’s financial situation will change if they stay up. Guaranteed PL TV money would give them more financial clout in the market and they’d be better off than they were last summer or will be this January.
    I think Rafa will honour his contract (which ends in 18 months) even if Ashley remains because he likes NUFC, feels he owes a debt of gratitude and is enjoying the challenge. Yes, he’s frustrated but I’m researching an article this week which shows that he’s been through this kind of thing before. And at Newcastle he has virtually 100% approval and an almost unquestioning fan base. That’s huge for any manager in this day and age.
    All of this presupposes the club staying up. I don’t have answers about what happens if relegation occurs, which is the worrying sub-plot to all of this. Then it feels as if all bets might be off about everything.
    But if NUFC stay up I think they’ll be in a better position in the summer of 2018. Marginally if Ashley remains. Substantially if there are new owners and they are as serious as they insist they are.
    As long as he’s here, Ashley probably won’t see the sort of protest that preceded Benitez. Which is ironic, isn’t it?
    It’s about potential and maximising Newcastle’s. Ashley knows he can’t do it, so must sell. Until someone else comes in – or Ashley has a massive change of heart and invests or hands Rafa the freedom to restructure as he understood he would get – we’re all just waiting. And that’s the frustrating part.

  • Bobbybee

    Jan 8, 2018 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #33

    Tsunki, I tried replying, but found I couldn’t concentrate on Sunlun long enough… to…

  • Bobbybee

    Jan 8, 2018 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #34

    Sorry! Where was I?

  • OneAlanShearer

    Jan 8, 2018 at 12:12 PM

    Comment #35

    Bobby – agreed

  • jayphoto

    Jan 8, 2018 at 12:13 PM

    Comment #36

    RE: takeover – if it doesn’t get done in January I can see the Fat Man doing another 5 years.. rumours are that the TV deal announced in February is astronomical… if theyre still negotiating come that announcement the figure will come into certain play and Ashley will up the price for sure which I’d imagine would see PCP walk away. If its 150-200m per season theres no way Ashley walks away… it’ll mean more money, but also probably mean more worldwide coverage and with sports direct getting free advertising he’ll be all over that. Not to mention his aim of the first quarter is to buy back sports direct shares and take the company private so it’ll be all money into his pockets…

  • Ozzy

    Jan 8, 2018 at 12:14 PM

    Comment #37

    Someone posted that ManU bought their trophies, have to disagree on that. In recent past, when sir Alex was still managing and they were winning PL titles, they were not the top spenders, they were outspended by Chelsea and City. The players like Ronaldo, Nani, Valencia weren’t bought for some cosmic fees, like the ones for Pogba, Lukaku nowadays. They won titles because of the talent of the manager.

  • Bobbybee

    Jan 8, 2018 at 12:16 PM

    Comment #38

    ‘Rafa has almost a 100% approval rate…’
    Not one here he doesn’t! 🙂

  • jayphoto

    Jan 8, 2018 at 12:16 PM

    Comment #39

    Also – West Brom selling Evans is lunacy..absolutely throwing in the towel in their position with their record…
    Think Swansea are done for, seen them a few times and theres just zero quality, apparently theres a fee if they don’t play Sanches too (who looks horrendous) and part of Carvalhos appointment is to do with integrating him and not playing him is costing Swansea a fortune… Worst team I seen this year too, even beating Watford they should have lost by 3 or 4..
    Pardews west brom- selling their best player? Basing their main goal hope on rodriguez who is made of glass and ribbons…wouldn’t bet on them… Pardew increasingly sounds like the pardew that was at Charlton too…

  • Our Toon

    Jan 8, 2018 at 12:16 PM

    Comment #40

    Pep has citeh playing in a much better way and a way I’ve not seen teams play in England. In a way I never thought would work over here.

    Ederson is essentially an outfield player who’s probably better on the ball than most of our team. The movement from full backs right through to the forward is amazing. I honestly don’t think we will see this type of football again once he retires


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