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Benitez Explains His Team Selection – It’s Tricky


Rafa Benitez has talked a lot about tonight’s game because he knows he cannot start his top team and the Premier League must take precedence.

Rafa doesn’t feel the squad is yet good enough to go after three different trophies and the Premier League is the most important.

In fact, the target this season is to just survive – once again – but we think we will do a lot better than last season.

Our squad and the first team starting eleven are better than they were last year at this time.

Rafa Benitez – tricky team selection tonight

And as we see our new signings play and get match fit we should start picking up the points and be in a decent position halfway through the season in December.

That’s our hope in any case/

We got 18 points in the first 19 games last season, so hopefully, we can do better than that this time around.

Here what Rafa has said on Chronicle Live today:

“We will change the keeper.”

“You have to find the balance between your strongest eleven and players that are training really well during the week but can’t play at the weekend.”

“Plus there are players who are injured and you have to give chances to others.”.

“And there are people who came in late in the transfer window and don’t have the match fitness.”

“You have to put all these things together and after decide your eleven.” “It’s about different players getting a chance.”

“In this case the keeper who you have to change because if not they won’t get any chances, because there may not be injuries.

“Everybody has the feeling they can do well and get a chance.”

“That is the reason why players must be rotated so they can get opportunities.”

Karl Darlow is the number two goalkeeper at the moment, so we expect Karl to start with Rob Elliot on the bench tonight.

We are expecting Freddie Woodman to go out on loan for the season.

Local lads Jamie Sterry and Sean Longstaff are expected to start the game.

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Comments welcome.


82 comments so far

  • ronaldo aarons

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:32 PM

    Comment #1

    Rob and Lindisfarne
    I’ll get posting my PayPal on here so you guys can support me with donations 🙂

    0
  • ronaldo aarons

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:38 PM

    Comment #2

    Your friendly neighbourhood Rafa basher is in the news again… not good of course. If anyone is on twitter and not yet blocked it might be worthwhile retweeting to him 😀

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/28/ex-sky-presenter-richard-keys-wifes-fury

    3
  • c-dog

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:41 PM

    Comment #3

    Mike Ashleys’s level of ambition is great to see in a blog headline. So he tells us his ambition is…

    1. Win a cup
    2. Get to the champions league

    He backs that up by…

    1. Not investing in the team
    2. Selling our best players when other clubs make bids

    5
  • martoon

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:45 PM

    Comment #4

    I’m really not sure of the criteria they compiled that earlier blogger list with? This blog is halfway down the list with the number of readers and posters it obviously has. Then a little further down there is a blog that posts once a month with 49 followers on Twitter – go figure?

    2
  • Bobbybee

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:45 PM

    Comment #5

    The strongest survive in football. We weren’t complaining when SJH was buying stars every other week, nor can we complain now.
    The draft is an American thing. We don’t want it here. Next you’ll be asking for no promotions and relegation like the NFL. This is our game. We play it our way. No disrespect intended, we simply have no desire to go through a draft system. It works over there and that’s great for America, but we’ve been great for a century the way we are and that’s how we’ll stay.

    9
  • Jail for Ashley

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:46 PM

    Comment #6

    Munster,
    Eh???
    We beat Man U, Chelsea and Arsenal last season, drew with Liverpool and more than matched Spurs until the sending off. Although Man City battered us we were unlucky not to draw that one.

    3
  • Bobbybee

    Aug 29, 2018 at 1:49 PM

    Comment #7

    Richard Keys truly is a whopper. Not sexist much eh? Bought his wife roses and a Teddy to patch it up. Cringe or what? 🙂

    3
  • Toonces

    Aug 29, 2018 at 2:03 PM

    Comment #8

    Someone posted a few pages back that they thought Ki looked out of sorts against Chelsea and would expect more from an international. I would suggest:

    1. It was his first start
    2. He was directly opposite N’Golo Kante in a 3 man defensive midfield (with Kovacic and Jorginho)
    3. Being an international for Korea isn’t quite the same as being an international for France, Belgium, Spain…

    I think Ki will look better after a run of games – but probably asking too much to show a huge difference at Mac City this weekend. That said, Man City’s midfield is a bit light weight. Hoping for Ki and Diame (who I thought was much improved vs Chelsea) to provide some steel.

    4
  • Bobbybee

    Aug 29, 2018 at 2:10 PM

    Comment #9

    Toonces, I thought he looked brilliant against Augsberg, but it’s hard to judge him against a quality outfit like Chelsea. Some of his passes in the Augsberg game were very Shelveyesque.

    1
  • RobLeenio

    Aug 29, 2018 at 2:19 PM

    Comment #10

    Bobby, as we know to play those kinds of passes you need to have the runners as targets. Not sure Rondon is the best option for that, but Murphy, Kenedy and Muto are good candidates.

    I hope Ki and Muto get a full game tonight, with Kenedy also. If they do, I think we’ll beat Forest.

    Last season in the same fixture, instead of the three above we played Barlasser, Aarons and Diame as the 2nd striker behind Mitro.

    1
  • Rotonda heights

    Aug 29, 2018 at 2:21 PM

    Comment #11

    well there we have it. what do keys and ash have in common? both pathological liars.

    3
  • Mister Tuff

    Aug 29, 2018 at 2:21 PM

    Comment #12

    Think we’ll improve a bit as time goes on and all the players get up to speed and the crocks return. But overall I think the season is very much going to replicate last season.
    Priority is the league and not cup games.

    2
  • Mister Tuff

    Aug 29, 2018 at 2:26 PM

    Comment #13

    International break after the City game – very important and needed fortnight to prepare for the Arsenal game.

    1
  • Munster Mag

    Aug 29, 2018 at 2:29 PM

    Comment #14

    Keyes might not vom in fireplaces though, so give him a break Rotunda 🙂

    1
  • Jail for Ashley

    Aug 29, 2018 at 2:29 PM

    Comment #15

    Tuff,
    I just hope this terrible run of fixtures doesn’t inflict to much damage to morale. I think these lads are made of sterner stuff than the Everton lads who threw the towel in under Koeman

    1
  • RobLeenio

    Aug 29, 2018 at 2:32 PM

    Comment #16

    Jail, just like last season all it takes is one result. Last time out we went away to West Ham and won 3-0, which made the fans smile and the players breathe again.

    Hopefully the result comes sooner than later, but come it will…

    2
  • Jail for Ashley

    Aug 29, 2018 at 2:34 PM

    Comment #17

    RobLeenio,
    That was home to West Ham, Mitro’s nail in the coffin.

    1
  • Bobbybee

    Aug 29, 2018 at 2:36 PM

    Comment #18

    Rob, aye, not fair to judge him in a game where he was so restricted. Did you see the Augsberg game? Some of those cross-field passes were pinpoint.
    Still fancy a win tonight though, regardless of who gets drafted in. Like to see Fernandez get a run out myself, or Roberts.

    1
  • Munster Mag

    Aug 29, 2018 at 2:38 PM

    Comment #19

    Jail, to be fair I was quietly confident v man u, arsenal, Chelsea last year. Different stages of season and each of those teams had well documented problems at the time. I don’t want to see ksy hit the ball towards the city goal and us retreat into position. I know I they are Brill but wolves are no legends and we are not a 2nd division team. I hoe we can try to engage their defence. I know we don’t have their speed and am not expecting a draw but if we can make improvements and work city hard for their win I will take it. I know it was a different competition but Wigan best them. I do think want us downgraded to non combatants/”2 attacks per game level I watched the game with my 7 yr old and had to explain that we are worth supporting . He has a big soft spot for Liverpool 🙁

    0
  • RobLeenio

    Aug 29, 2018 at 2:39 PM

    Comment #20

    Jail, I stand corrected, home it was.

    The point remains though, we’ll click at some point. The previous season we got a massive boost from the home match vs Norwich at the right time and that helped the team and the crowd. It will come again.

    0
  • Munster Mag

    Aug 29, 2018 at 2:40 PM

    Comment #21

    Rob that was a beautiful game v the dildo brothers. Two clubs I wud love to see suffer are west ham and arsenal for obvious reasons

    1
  • Jail for Ashley

    Aug 29, 2018 at 2:46 PM

    Comment #22

    Ah ok Munster,
    It doesn’t count as doing well against the top teams if they have well documented problems at the time. Bayjeezus this is a learning curve.

    1
  • Toonces

    Aug 29, 2018 at 2:49 PM

    Comment #23

    Bobby, I think Ki has a lot to offer us and expect him to do so once fully up to speed. I didn’t get to see the Augsburg pre-season match being over here in the USA, but thanks to the NBC tv rights I can watch every PL game and some of the cups on EPSN. That said, I have seen Ki play here and there over the years on TV and he is a good professional. Not a world beater but I think he can and will be an important contributing part in our team this season.

    2
  • DubaiMicky

    Aug 29, 2018 at 2:58 PM

    Comment #24

    I know it’s childish but every time I see “The dildo brothers” I do have a chuckle.

    1
  • Bobbybee

    Aug 29, 2018 at 3:00 PM

    Comment #25

    Toonces, aye, he’ll do well for us. I think some people see that he was a free transfer and think that makes him useless! He chose to run his contract down and as I recall from the time, there was lots of interest from other clubs in signing him up. We got there first somehow. I reckon he’ll be a good player from what I’ve seen myself. Good range of passing and not scared to get stuck in.

    1
  • RobLeenio

    Aug 29, 2018 at 3:05 PM

    Comment #26

    Bobby “We got there first somehow”

    Still not sure why he picked NUFC over all his many other options. Either Rafa had a good story to tell him or someone else did because there’s no way we offered more to him and his agent than anyone else.

    I’m sure the tale will unfold in time. I’ll be interested to hear it when it does.

    0
  • Munster Mag

    Aug 29, 2018 at 3:15 PM

    Comment #27

    Jail, Chelsea and City are much better this season than the Chelsea we played last year who were not doing at that well under a manager who was leaving. Arsenal were off colour at that stage too ( less so ) and Man U had all the Pogba stuff. Those teams were more beatable. If we can do the same against them this year ( already lost one) I wud be surprised and thrilled. Anyway, hope for best. Not sure what point I am making 🙂 . Am at work. HTL

    0
  • Jib

    Aug 29, 2018 at 3:21 PM

    Comment #28

    I think Ki’s adviser is the ex Celtic full back Cha Du-ri
    who approached NUFC
    A German born S Korean (his dad played for Frankfurt)
    They were together in Glasgow and also played many
    times together for S Korea.

    Then of course there is the Shelvey connection

    0
  • Bobbybee

    Aug 29, 2018 at 3:34 PM

    Comment #29

    Rob, aye, I put ‘somehow’ because, let’s be honest, we’re not renowned for quick movement where signings are concerned. 🙂 He did have some good options as I recall – wasn’t Milan or Inter in the frame? I think Rafa must’ve been a huge influence in his decision, as well as the support.
    You often hear players saying how they hated coming here as opposition and how it must be good to have the fans on your side. He mentioned something along those lines as well.
    Jonjo does have periods where nothing goes right and Ki can cover adequately when he’s struggling. Hope he plays tonight in the Shelvey position and shows people what he’s capable of.

    0
  • RobLeenio

    Aug 29, 2018 at 3:35 PM

    Comment #30

    Jib, you mean this Cha Du-Ri?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blFpKPEARmY

    😉

    0
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Aug 29, 2018 at 3:35 PM

    Comment #31

    Jib

    As one of the ^rseholes from south of the Tyne (according to you) I hope you realize that you have insulted something like 30% to 50% of the Toons fanbase, well done.

    Dunston by the way.

    4
  • Aces-of-Eights

    Aug 29, 2018 at 3:35 PM

    Comment #32

    couple of yrs to see murphy reach his potential? no thanks rafa

    1
  • Aces-of-Eights

    Aug 29, 2018 at 3:36 PM

    Comment #33

    at 23 yrs of age he should have shown more already. kieron dyer was twice the player at that age

    0
  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Aug 29, 2018 at 3:38 PM

    Comment #34

    Nobody voting for a draw tonight. 🙂

    0
  • Jib

    Aug 29, 2018 at 3:38 PM

    Comment #35

    Essex
    You are falling into the generalisation trap
    I didn’t say if you are from S of the tyne
    you are an arsehole.
    I said the blog arseholes viz Catchy Jail and Tuff
    were from S of the Tyne
    In fact that was shot down cos the biggest arsehole
    Mr Tuff is from N Tyneside

    1
  • Optimistic Panda

    Aug 29, 2018 at 3:40 PM

    Comment #36

    Jib

    Aren’t you from North Tyneside?

    I’m pulling ya leg

    1
  • Jib

    Aug 29, 2018 at 3:41 PM

    Comment #37

    Robleenio
    You do realise that GK was Fraser Forster ?

    0
  • Aces-of-Eights

    Aug 29, 2018 at 3:42 PM

    Comment #38

    if rafa wants to rest players he should rest them vs man city not tonight. tonight we need a win and a performance nothing less is acceptable

    0
  • Jib

    Aug 29, 2018 at 3:42 PM

    Comment #39

    Panda
    yup
    😡

    1
  • Optimistic Panda

    Aug 29, 2018 at 3:43 PM

    Comment #40

    Aces

    I think Dyer was crap, so overrated it’s unbelievable.

    If Murphy can pass the ball to opposition players, get 10 assists and 20 goals in his Nufc career he’ll have delivered twice as much as Dyer.

    Not sure how many goals Dyer scored for us but I’d be shocked if it was more than 12, from a attacking midfielder who wanted Scholes England place, I bet Paul was terrified

    1

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