Benitez Can Make This Player Much Better If He Stays At Newcastle


It was only the second time we have seen Islam Slimani in action in a Newcastle shirt, but the big man has speed and skill and helped set up our second goal after he had been on the pitch for only five minutes.

Islam is a typical player who can do well under the guidance of Rafa Benitez – he is keen to learn, works hard, is powerful in the air and on the ground –  and wants to improve.

So while it’s uncertain whether Rafa thinks he is worth £20M in the summer we should see more of him in the final five games of the season.

But we expect Islam to impress the more playing time he gets – he’s definitely very keen to stay on Tyneside.

Islam Slimani – in action yesterday

And he does seem to add something up front and that’s another option for the team.

Rafa talked about Slimani and our other two loan signings after the game yesterday against the Gunners and also the unheralded Paul Dummett.

Once Paul came back from his hamstring injury Newcastle’s form, and defensive solidity returned.

Here’s what Rafa said:

“I think he has the desire. He’s a worker. He wants to impress.

“With him, and after Joselu who was also doing a good job as a second striker, and after with Jacob Murphy.”

“So we had fresh legs and also players that had the ambition and desire to make an impact in the end.”

“That helps the team to go out when you’re under pressure or to play in the way that we were playing in the end.”

“We were lucky enough to sign them, and also the comeback of Paul Dummett from injury.”

“We were looking for a left-footed left full-back. Manquillo was doing a good job.”

“But right-footed always give you less time and pace when you want to move the ball.”

“I think all these new players, they give us something different and also increase the competition in the squad.”

“It has been really positive.”

It’s the happiest we’ve seen Rafa for some time after the game as he was smiling and congratulated his players and waved to the crowd.

He’s shown this season just how good he is, and not many managers could have this Newcastle team in 10th place and playing well.

Newcastle United will have gained many more fans around the world with their performance yesterday on TV – it was full of passion, skill, and guts.

What else do you want?

Maybe it’ s a good time for Amanda Staveley to put in a new and improved offer for Newcastle?

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Comments welcome.


7 comments so far

  • ShirebrookToon

    Apr 16, 2018 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #1

    Sore Head = Check
    Sore Throat = Check
    Ears Ringing = Check

    Was it worth it = fcuking damn right it was!

    That’s the best game so far this season and the atmosphere was electric.

    11
  • hibbit

    Apr 16, 2018 at 10:34 AM

    Comment #2

    interesting numbers from the Shields Gazette
    Equal share: £35,301,989
    Facility fees: £21m
    Merit payment (for 10th place finish): £21,357,699
    Overseas TV: £39,090,596
    Central commercial: £4,759,404
    Total payment: £121,508,688

    4
  • DubaiMicky

    Apr 16, 2018 at 10:39 AM

    Comment #3

    I see Patrick Kluivert is rushing up the odds for next manager of West Brom, he had a great year with us but was strangely released in summer 2005.

    Not done much in management but would love him to be successful with bringing WBA (my second club) back up at the first attempt.

    3
  • Jib

    Apr 16, 2018 at 10:49 AM

    Comment #4

    I said yesterday that Darren Moore deserves
    a shot at the managers job at WBA
    He could be their Chris Hughton

    0
  • DubaiMicky

    Apr 16, 2018 at 10:54 AM

    Comment #5

    George Caulkin in The Times

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/rafa-benitez-celebrates-safety-as-soft-arsenal-wilt-again-hg0nr0lvd?shareToken=5920950421e91bf73b444019d1417094

    Rafa Benítez celebrates safety as soft Arsenal wilt again
    Newcastle United 2 Arsenal 1

    There have been episodes of distress and disenchantment, tension in the transfer market and a long spell of sobering results, but all that hardship felt like a mirage at St James’ Park yesterday. This has not been an easy season for Newcastle United — not by a long way — and yet the table posits a different narrative. They are tenth and comfortable, relishing their football and, above all, safe, something that even Rafa Benítez now accepts.

    Under this most meticulous of managers, Newcastle are a mini-marvel, victorious in their past four matches, beaten only by Liverpool and Manchester City in the Premier League since the turn of the year and improving week by week. Given the circumstances, their recent return to the division, their reliably baffling ownership and the resources at Benítez’s disposal, it is an achievement worthy of recognition.

    Tyneside sang in its honour. Benítez is loved here, a man who joined Newcastle at their nadir, hacked his way through the nettles of the Sky Bet Championship and, in spite of everything, can still view a famously febrile institution in terms of potential. At the final whistle, when Arsenal had been bested, he and his players celebrated in front of the Gallowgate End, taking applause and returning it.

    Just think what Benítez might do with an ambitious, unified Newcastle, a club where uncertainty is etched onto the stadium girders. It is no wonder they want him to extend a contract that still stretches for another year and now that relegation has been avoided, that intrigue will be recharged. They are on the cusp of something special, or could be.

    “We have plenty of time to talk about ideas for the future,” Benítez said. “As I have said before, if everything is right, it is a good opportunity, but everything has to be right. Today I was really pleased with everything I have seen, but at the same time we are professionals and we have to be sure that next year we have the tools to compete at the level we want to compete at.”

    It is not just about money and new signings. It is about communication, a plan for the training ground and academy, reconstructing Newcastle’s foundations. On the pitch, this result was further evidence of their growth, their mentality strong enough to withstand an Arsenal lead and their quality good enough to overturn it.

    Arsenal’s confidence evaporated the moment that Newcastle crossed the halfway line. There were glimmers of possibility in the £104 million attacking partnership between Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but, off the ball, discomfort was the default setting for a soft side who have won fewer games and lost more away from home than any of their rivals within the top-eight.

    VIDEOPREMIER LEAGUE
    Rafa Benítez celebrates safety as soft Arsenal wilt again
    Newcastle United 2 Arsenal 1

    George Caulkin
    April 16 2018, 12:01am,
    The Times

    Football
    Arsenal Football Club
    Manchester City Football Club
    Premier League
    Premier League clips powered by Sky Sports

    Video highlights: Newcastle United 2 Arsenal 1
    Share
    Save
    Match summary
    Newcastle United Newcastle United 2 – 1 Arsenal Arsenal
    HT 1-1
    English Premier League13:30 Sunday April 15 2018
    VenueSt. James’ ParkAttendance52,210RefereeAnthony Taylor
    Ayoze Pérez29’Matt Ritchie68’Islam Slimani90+1′ Alexandre Lacazette14′
    View football match centre
    There have been episodes of distress and disenchantment, tension in the transfer market and a long spell of sobering results, but all that hardship felt like a mirage at St James’ Park yesterday. This has not been an easy season for Newcastle United — not by a long way — and yet the table posits a different narrative. They are tenth and comfortable, relishing their football and, above all, safe, something that even Rafa Benítez now accepts.

    Under this most meticulous of managers, Newcastle are a mini-marvel, victorious in their past four matches, beaten only by Liverpool and Manchester City in the Premier League since the turn of the year and improving week by week. Given the circumstances, their recent return to the division, their reliably baffling ownership and the resources at Benítez’s disposal, it is an achievement worthy of recognition.

    Tyneside sang in its honour. Benítez is loved here, a man who joined Newcastle at their nadir, hacked his way through the nettles of the Sky Bet Championship and, in spite of everything, can still view a famously febrile institution in terms of potential. At the final whistle, when Arsenal had been bested, he and his players celebrated in front of the Gallowgate End, taking applause and returning it.

    Ritchie scores Newcastle’s winner past a despairing Cech to all but seal their Premier League status
    Ritchie scores Newcastle’s winner past a despairing Cech to all but seal their Premier League status
    CHARLOTTE WILSON/OFFSIDE/GETTY IMAGES
    Just think what Benítez might do with an ambitious, unified Newcastle, a club where uncertainty is etched onto the stadium girders. It is no wonder they want him to extend a contract that still stretches for another year and now that relegation has been avoided, that intrigue will be recharged. They are on the cusp of something special, or could be.

    “We have plenty of time to talk about ideas for the future,” Benítez said. “As I have said before, if everything is right, it is a good opportunity, but everything has to be right. Today I was really pleased with everything I have seen, but at the same time we are professionals and we have to be sure that next year we have the tools to compete at the level we want to compete at.”

    It is not just about money and new signings. It is about communication, a plan for the training ground and academy, reconstructing Newcastle’s foundations. On the pitch, this result was further evidence of their growth, their mentality strong enough to withstand an Arsenal lead and their quality good enough to overturn it.

    Arsenal’s confidence evaporated the moment that Newcastle crossed the halfway line. There were glimmers of possibility in the £104 million attacking partnership between Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but, off the ball, discomfort was the default setting for a soft side who have won fewer games and lost more away from home than any of their rivals within the top-eight.

    Panic spread across Arsenal’s back four when Jonjo Shelvey launched those long quarterback passes towards the flanks and, behind them, Petr Cech is a diminished force, beaten at his near-post for Ayoze Pérez’s equaliser, a move that featured more passes in the build-up — 11 — than any other Newcastle goal this season. Dwight Gayle scurried between Arsenal’s defenders, with Kenedy, DeAndre Yedlin and Matt Ritchie attacking them at pace.

    Shelvey was the puppet-master and it was his pass that set Newcastle on their way, Gayle controlling it under minimal pressure from Shkodran Mustafi and laying it off to the right. Yedlin, the full back, met the ball first time and Pérez did the same with his shot, ending a sharp and fluid movement with a smartly taken shot that beat Cech at his near post. It was Pérez’s third goal in three games; not bad for a player whose output has been questioned.

    The same can be said of most Newcastle players, but Benítez has eked improvement from all of them and, as he always predicted, his team have grown stronger as the season has matured. They remained organised and composed even as Arsenal took ownership of the game when Mustafi’s diagonal pass found Aubameyang in space on the left and Lacazette stretched to meet his cross on the volley. It was a glorious finish.

    There were other chances for Arsenal — including a cringeworthy miss by Joe Willock, the England Under-19 international, who was making his league debut — but they lacked purpose and impetus. The second half held few fears for Newcastle, who defended higher up the pitch and trusted that Arsenal’s spells in possession would break down, as they invariably did.

    The introduction of Islam Slimani for Gayle brought a bigger target to Newcastle’s attack and his arrival bore fruit. Two listless Arsenal clearances resulted in momentum switching and Slimani headed the ball with power towards their area, where a flick from Pérez created space for Ritchie. One cushioned touch, one shot later, and Newcastle were ahead.

    “I am really pleased,” Benítez said. “The way we did it, every single player, every fan, every member of the staff, I have to congratulate them because it has been a fantastic achievement in a very difficult season. Little by little we have been growing and, especially in this second part of the league, the team has grown in confidence. Some people were dreaming that maybe we could be here, but they were not awake. We were awake. We were believing from day one.”

    3
  • DubaiMicky

    Apr 16, 2018 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #6

    Sorry about the cut/past cock up above, but you get the gist.

    2
  • RobLeenio

    Apr 16, 2018 at 11:23 AM

    Comment #7

    Ha, ha Jib – nicely done.
    😉

    1

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