When Rafa Benitez takes charge on Saturday against Fulham, it will be exactly 365 days since he first walked into St James Park and took charge at Newcastle United.

Steve McClaren having been sacked after his latest disastrous result, a 3-1 home defeat to Bournemouth, when his last desperate gamble was to bring Emmanuel Riviere back in as his centre-forward.

It seems in some ways like he has only been here for the briefest of time, such are the dark shadows still cast by McClaren, Carver and Pardew.

In other ways, you look at what he has achieved in that time and it makes you feel that Rafa Benitez has been here far longer than just the one year.

So what has he achieved in that time?

Well leaving aside the lifting of the gloom and despair that had taken permanent place over Tyneside, here are the actual statistics of what has happened.

The headlines are (all competitions) that since 11 March 2016 Newcastle United have:

Played 53

Won 31

Drawn 10

Lost 12

Goals For 100

Goals Against 47

This breaks down to:

Premier League 

P10 W3 D4 L3 GF16 GA12

Championship

P36 W24 D5 L7 GF69 GA29

FA Cup

P3 W 1 D1 L1 GF4 GA5

League Cup

P4 W3 D0 L1 GF11 GA1

In his 53 matches, Rafa Benitez has had 21 clean sheets and his team have failed to score in only 9 of those 53 games.

Whilst he does rely on a team built from a solid defensive base, the 100 goals in a year suggest the Spaniard isn’t quite as negative as critics would make out.

In the whole year there have been only two goalless draws under the Newcastle Manager, last night (Reading) and the game at Aston Villa towards the end of last season.

Most of all of course is that Rafa is a winner, victorious in around 60% of his United games and losing around 20%.

Interesting to see what he achieves in his second year at Newcastle United and a win over Fulham would be the perfect start.

As somebody once said – ‘In Rafa we trust’.

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])

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