Has Rafa Benitez dumbed down Newcastle United ?

Ever since the news was made public that Rafa Benitez had signed to stay on for another three years as manager of our great club, the fans have all had their own views of what was required to make NUFC a strong squad, capable of taking the Championship by storm.

We knew we were losing several of the first team squad and Townsend & Wijnaldum were the first to go. Then Moussa would surely add to the P45 process together with some lower profile departures such as Coloccini, Cisse, Taylor and Thauvin.

They all had to go and they reduced the wage bill – we knew that Rafa would be capable of finding quality replacements to keep the NUFC challenge going strong.

During the summer he bought……

Matz Sels (Gent)

Dwight Gayle (Crystal Palace)

Matt Ritchie (Bournemouth)

Jesus Gamez (Atletico Madrid)

Isaac Hayden (Arsenal)

Grant Hanley (Blackburn Rovers)

Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa)

Mohamed Diame (Hull City)

……yet somehow there were murmurings that with the above additions, the Newcastle United squad was now diminished considerably?

As a football club, when you drop down a league, the assumption is that the quality of your squad will shine out like a beacon above the rest of the teams in the league below.

Yet for the first game of the season, we turned up at a club that had lost its two main strikers from the previous season and was cobbled together by their new manager in a short space of time and lost!

Not only did we lose but we looked like we’d never score, even if we played for the rest of the night.

In addition, we failed to compete or put the opposition under any sort of real pressure and, most worryingly, looked unbalanced and lacked any sense of cohesive teamwork.

So while we all understood that Rafa wanted to populate his squad with players who had experience of the Championship, we’re now left wondering if he has actually created a Championship team that will perform adequately within this league, yet could possibly struggle at a higher level if we ever managed to get back there?

What do you think?

Is it a team brimming with talent that’s ready to take on the Sky Bet and win, or have we replaced an underperforming Premier League side with an equally underperforming Championship team ?