Rafa’s Warning – Arsenal Will Not Be Tired – They’re Favorites

Rafa will not have any complacency coming from his Newcastle players.

And he has rubbished the fact that Arsenal may be tired because of their long journey to Moscow yesterday to play CSKA Moscow in the Europa League quarter-finals.

Rafa really wants to win this game and has confidence his team can do that – get all 3 points and safety in the Premier League.

Rafa points out the experience of the Arsenal team who have played in Europe ever since Arsene Wenger arrived back in 1996.

And they are used to playing two games a week and have the squad in both quantity and quality to cope with that.

Rafa Benitez and Arsene Wenger meet in Champions League – when Rafa was the manager of Napoli

This is some of what Rafa said in his press conference today:

“Normally, you can be tired after traveling.“At the same time, if you have a big squad, you will be fine.”

“I don’t think it will be an advantage for us.”

“The reality is that Arsenal is one of the top sides in English football.” “They have very good players, a very good manager with great experience.”

“If I say they are favorites, I am not playing games. I have confidence that we can beat them.”

“Forty points is the mark,” “We are closer than before, but still, two points will be the key and the mark we are aiming for.”

“If any players has (sic) any doubt, I will put another player on the pitch.”

Arsene Wenger will now need to win the Europa League to qualify for the Champions League for next season.

But the Gunners have been drawn against the team they didn’t want to meet – Atletico Madrid – when the semi-final draw was made today.

However, they can still beat Atletico if they play somewhere near their best and it definitely will be a tie worth watching.

How Will Newcastle Fare Against Arsenal?

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Comments welcome.

109 comments so far

  • hibbit

    Apr 13, 2018 at 2:59 PM

    Comment #1

    lee ryder/chronicle are saying only 1,237 fans, but i did think there was more than that ??

  • sing in the corner

    Apr 13, 2018 at 3:06 PM

    Comment #2

    Watching clip of Rafa’s press conference..
    Great to see him looking healthy and sounding really upbeat. That’s what a few wins and moving up the table does for everyone eh?
    I expect us to turn up and be really up for this one. Best chance to stick one on Arsenal for a good few years.
    For starters: Chambers and Mustafi in the middle of their defence? I’d rather have our 2 any day of the week!
    We need no-nonsense refereeing – any softness and the gooners will milk it from any strong challenge.
    Really hope Gayle starts and he gets a bit of luck in front of goal. He needs that shot of confidence. I think Rafa will start him, Slimani on in the second half will be a good change if we need him. More minutes, more match fitness.

  • Mag52

    Apr 13, 2018 at 3:17 PM

    Comment #3

    Rafa talks about the singing by our fans at away matches.
    Wonder what he would make of a full throated rendition of ‘Blaydon races’ by 50 something thousand fans at the game on Sunday.
    Gayle to start, for me, with Slimani given the final twenty or so minutes. The rest of the team, no change from last week.

  • ben.g

    Apr 13, 2018 at 3:28 PM

    Comment #4

    I just have a feeling slimani will start. I do think arsenal defence looks shaky and I think it will come down to who Rafa thinks is more likely to finish their chances. I don’t think we will have as many chances as against huddersfield or Southampton so finishing chances will be key.

    Gayle has worked really hard for us so I won’t be upset if he starts, in think if 0-0 after 60 mins bring Gayle on for his fresh pace after slimani has given arsenals defence a working over!! ?

  • lochinvar

    Apr 13, 2018 at 3:33 PM

    Comment #5

    News today that Chinese police have used facial recognition technology to locate and arrest a man who was among a crowd of 60,000 concert goers.

    Locally it’s reported that Sunderland FC are interested in installing the technology at their ground next season just to see if anyone they know actually turns up on match days.
    No cameras will be neede in the upper stand.

  • sing in the corner

    Apr 13, 2018 at 3:36 PM

    Comment #6

    Yeah knowing our dispassionate Rafa I can also see he could drop Gayle for Slimani now. I just think Gayle’s confidence is at that brittle point, being left out now could flatten him. Needs a goal. Hard one to call though, when is the right time to give him a breather?

  • ben.g

    Apr 13, 2018 at 3:54 PM

    Comment #7

    That’s is with Rafa. Joselu missed chance after chance,he did work hard but Rafa dropped him.

    Gayle gets in the right places but as you say his confidence has gone. Maybe rest Gayle this game and give Slimani his go. Slimani is good in the air and has a corking shot on him.

    Slimani will give arsenal something to think about. If slimani starts,I think we will see Gayle still in the second half.
    Hopefully when we are 3-0 up!!!

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 13, 2018 at 4:05 PM

    Comment #8

    just because Gayle isn’t scoring goals doesn’t mean his confidence is gone, from what I’ve seen of him he seems up for the games and he’s doing what Rafa wants him to do. A few goals would be nice though, I’d back him to score one or two more before the season ends.

  • sing in the corner

    Apr 13, 2018 at 4:27 PM

    Comment #9

    Aye Bill, but watching him miss those two in the first half against Hudds from close quarters in the Gallowgate, he is crapping it in front of goal at the minute, snatching at everything. Look of disappointment on his face almost before he strikes it!
    He is listening to Rafa though, that is clear. Attitude has improved and he is working for the team more than before, I reckon.
    I trust Rafa 100% though, time with the squad to mould them to his plan is showing. (Dummett, Kenedy also now playing to the program..)

  • lochinvar

    Apr 13, 2018 at 4:39 PM

    Comment #10

    Slimani to start for me as he’s the unknown quantity for the Arsenal defence and is raring to go so can do them some damage. Gayle will be told to expect to play off the bench around 60minutes and as he’s put in some good shifts of late a wee rest to start and would then be raring to go and can play without inhibition and be fully energetic without tiring for 30minutes.

  • Mindshaft

    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:05 PM

    Comment #11

    Moscow is under a 4 hour flight , not sure that can be called a long journey – I expect a tough game tomorrow where we’ll be under the cosh for long periods – hopefully we can hold out and maybe sneak a goal or two , saying that I went for a draw

  • Tsunki

    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:09 PM

    Comment #12

    Interesting if Slimani is fit to play he will indeed be a secret weapon as Intel on him will be decidedly a dig through the history books. I have a feeling Rafa will keep the covers on him first half as it would only be right to roll out the lads who turned Leicester over. Whatever happens second half with 30 minutes to go unless Gayle is on a hat trick whip off the covers and launch Al mani

  • ben.g

    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:10 PM

    Comment #13

    I’d be happy with a point. I do think we can win this one at home.

  • ben.g

    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:11 PM

    Comment #14

    Ha ha, Al Mani

  • Jib

    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:22 PM

    Comment #15

    London to Moscow
    London to Lisbon

  • lesh

    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:23 PM

    Comment #16

    Jail, Hibbit, JohnJ

    You each called for ‘Ashley Out’ a few threads back. Dis-moi pourquoi? Has he done something he shouldn’t?

    🙄 😉

  • Jib

    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:25 PM

    Comment #17

    plus one hour

  • lochinvar

    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:30 PM

    Comment #18

    Mindshaft – don’t go the match tomorrow, try Sunday

  • lochinvar

    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:32 PM

    Comment #19

    Less one hour as CET back to GMT ?

  • Jib

    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:35 PM

    Comment #20

    Ah Lesh the socialist , horny-handed son of toil –
    who resides in the industrial heartland of East Sussex

    ha ha ha

  • Jib

    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:36 PM

    Comment #21

    Loch are you trying to confoozle me?

  • Tsunki

    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:43 PM

    Comment #22

    Don’t forget daylight saving so set to PST or better still EST and then RAC with the BBC if you CBA. Just FYI.

  • Jib

    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:50 PM

    Comment #23

    Rafa said in his presser
    that finishing 10th would
    have to be regarded as a
    successful season.

    You have to agree with that assessment.

    Any higher and he has to be a contender
    for manager of the season

    Another stick to hit Ashley with

  • Jib

    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:51 PM

    Comment #24

    I must award Tsunki a CDM

  • Online Guy

    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:51 PM

    Comment #25


    I think you have been under some pressure last few days embroiled in argument and fighting your corner . Take it easy .

  • Jib

    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:53 PM

    Comment #26

    It has nowt to do with chocolate
    the Clever Dick Medal

  • Tsunki

    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:57 PM

    Comment #27

    No pressure online but a good deal of perplexity.

  • Jib

    Apr 13, 2018 at 5:57 PM

    Comment #28

    If the unwashed fail tomoz away to Reading
    (quite likely)
    I think it’s – Good Night, Vienna

  • Mindshaft

    Apr 13, 2018 at 6:09 PM

    Comment #29

    Lochinvar – good point , by the way BST is two hours behind Moscow

  • A Pain in the Blog

    Apr 13, 2018 at 6:12 PM

    Comment #30

    Nooooo. Too many TLAs.

  • ronaldo aarons

    Apr 13, 2018 at 6:20 PM

    Comment #31

    Lol we have been linked about taking two of sunderlands best youngsters.

  • ronaldo aarons

    Apr 13, 2018 at 6:21 PM

    Comment #32

    Its been quiet on here today it seems.

  • Dagwoodz

    Apr 13, 2018 at 6:22 PM

    Comment #33

    Everyone is saving energy to complain about the match on Sunday…my guess is Catchy and his crew will be back at the half spewing their negativity.

  • Tsunki

    Apr 13, 2018 at 6:34 PM

    Comment #34

    Aye that boat has been gently bobbing in the doldrums without even a hint of the usual wind. If we lose to the hopeless arsenal under the incompetent bumbling of the has-been Wenger by the odd goal the doom and gloom nets will be cast over the side.

  • Tsunki

    Apr 13, 2018 at 6:36 PM

    Comment #35

    By the way anyone who does manage to get into the stadium of desperate plight to watch the mackems drown remember when you cross the Wear to set your watches back 50 years.

  • lochinvar

    Apr 13, 2018 at 6:39 PM

    Comment #36


    Looks like Rodriquez case was dealt with somehow differently to Shelveys. Yet again the FA seem on the basis of similar evidence appear to arrive at different decisions.

    Surely time for Independent arbitration for such matters.

  • Tsunki

    Apr 13, 2018 at 6:46 PM

    Comment #37

    The FA did however award Bong with a box of tic-tacs. fair decision imo

  • Jib

    Apr 13, 2018 at 7:03 PM

    Comment #38

    The Wolves player in question – Romain Saiss
    could hardly speak a word of English when Jonjo
    was fitted up by the Wolves squad

  • sing in the corner

    Apr 13, 2018 at 7:06 PM

    Comment #39


  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Apr 13, 2018 at 7:22 PM

    Comment #40

    And this is what is possibly keeping Shelvey out of the England team, the mind boggles!!


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