Newcastle’s Tough Initial Fixtures – Set Plays Become Important

Newcastle players under the guidance of Rafa Benitez train hard in preparation for each game.

So it must have been tough for the coaching staff that our first win of the season didn’t come until Saturday when we beat Watford 1-0.

In the same fixture last season we were beaten 3-0.

And last night the other team without a win – Huddersfield – beat Fulham at home 1-0 to send the Cottagers into bottom place.

Newcastle remain 4th bottom of the league.

Newcastle still find it hard to score goals and when that’s the case set pieces become important opportunities.

Rafa Benitez – set plays important

We scored a great goal from a free kick on Saturday when Ki put in a terrific free kick that Perez headed home in style.

Rafa knows the importance of set pieces this season:

“We’ve been practicing set-pieces every week, and we couldn’t get anything from that.

“It was a great delivery and great movement of Ayoze.”

“Last year, that was a big difference. This year, still we needed that. Hopefully, it will be the first of a lot of goals.”

“For them (the coaches), it’s important,” “Antonio, Mikel and Paco (Moreno), they’re always working really hard, especially on set-pieces.”

“To see that you can score a goal and get three points from a free-kick, that’s another big boost for everyone in terms of concentration for the next game.”

“If you see the teams that normally get relegated, they normally concede goals. We don’t concede too many, so that, for me, is one of the biggest hopes of why we can stay up.”

“We’re organized, and it’s difficult to break us down. We still made some mistakes, and they had some chances.”

“But it’s not easy for the other teams to create chances against us.”

“That’s a good foundation, and we know we can still improve. Our problem is that we have to create more or create better chances.”

This season is yet another test of Rafa’s management capabilities.

And we play an impressive Bournemouth side at home on Saturday, and they are currently in 6th place in the league.

After that, we will have played 12 league games and five of them against the perennial top six cubs.

And two other tough games agaunst Watford who are in 7th place and Bournemouth who are in 6th place.

Nobody can say it’s been an easy start for the lads this season.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

6 comments so far

  • Jib

    Nov 6, 2018 at 8:44 AM

    Comment #1

    The FA fixture computer threw us a curve ball
    at the season’s opening
    However it’s a marathon not a sprint
    In the Great North Run those that are first at
    the Shieldfield underpass are rarely in the
    front by Gypsies Green

  • RobLeenio

    Nov 6, 2018 at 8:51 AM

    Comment #2

    On set-pieces, I quite liked the England tactic at the World Cup, bunching up their big guys at the front of the penalty area and then sprinting out – it made them very hard to mark closely and led to defensive panic and penalties.

    I’m surprised no coaches in the Prem have tried it this season. Even as a variation of set-piece play used once / twice per game it could be interesting.

  • Mindshaft

    Nov 6, 2018 at 9:07 AM

    Comment #3

    The tactic worked against the team’s that were poor as soon as we played Belgium / Croatia the tactics were found to be wanting

  • Zele

    Nov 6, 2018 at 9:10 AM

    Comment #4

    It’s good to know that Antonio, Mikel and Paco are always working really hard it’s just a pity that some of players don’t seem to have heard or learnt from them at times.

    The free kick from Ki was the first one I can remember this season that was delivered accurately at speed and the slightest of touches by defenders or attackers would left the keeper possibly quite unprepared for its trajectory and final destination.

    It looked as if the speed of the ball beat the keeper.

  • c-dog

    Nov 6, 2018 at 9:12 AM

    Comment #5

    Liverpool attempt to leave the box quite empty and aim for an area Van Dijk will be in more or less alone with one opposition defender. Although many goals have not come he does win a lot in dangerous areas so it is threatening. Saying that we have nobody near as intelligent a footballer as VVD. You get what you pay for.

  • RobLeenio

    Nov 6, 2018 at 9:25 AM

    Comment #6

    Mindshaft, agreed. I nearly mentioned this above, but I think I think the standard of defending in the Prem varies quite widely. Even if the tactic won a single 1-0 win over the course of a season, it would have to be worth trying IMO


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