Today’s the day for Rafa Benitez to ditch safety first
I do kind of understand why Rafa Benitez likes to slowly suffocate the opposition into eventual submission.
In the past, at a higher level, it has obviously served him very well.
Playing with two holding players as he did at Liverpool was usually the right tactic for him, especially when he had the likes of Steven Gerrard scoring so many goals from midfield.
However, I just think that this season so far has shown, that if the opposition score first, Newcastle have very few answers.
All three matches when Newcastle have conceded first they have lost them, the other seven (all competitions) when NUFC have scored first, the Magpies have won.
The evidence so far suggests, whoever scores first seals our fate.
Obviously every team wants to score first in any match but I do think that with the players Rafa Benitez has available, he could and should be putting the team out with a more attacking edge.
The sight of Hayden and Shelvey dropping so deep to get short passes off the centre-backs is counter-productive. We also see long passing sequences between seven of our team – with a single opposition striker chasing around as Matz Sels, his back four and the two holding midfielders keep the ball but get nowhere fast.
The very last thing we want to do today at Villa Park, is to sit back and give these idiots any encouragement whatsoever.
When the opposition has won just 3 of their last 45 league games, their confidence is going to be wafer thin.
Concede first and Villa will surely crumble, let them score the opener and suddenly crowd and players have something to cling onto and defend.
From the first whistle Newcastle need to be up that pitch and not giving Aston Villa a second to settle, sitting back and playing the longer game to gradually work our way into the game is asking for trouble.
The Wolves match showed that a freak opening goal is always possible, Lascelles gifting possession and then Mbemba somehow managing to find his own net.
If Newcastle press from the start and have a number of players regularly getting in and around the box then surely we will win, even if Villa fluked a first goal.
Not only have Newcastle lost the three matches but rarely looked like even scoring in them, a lucky rebound after Gayle fluffed his penalty against Huddersfield was the only goal in over four and a half hours of football.
It doesn’t have to be kamikaze football, just playing two up front and getting the likes of Ritchie, Diame and Gouffran amongst them as well.
Aston Villa are sitting there waiting to be beaten, let’s not disappoint them.
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