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Opinion

Rafa Benitez – Woke up on his last birthday and Newcastle hadn’t won a match yet…

3 years ago
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Forget Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Valencia, Chelsea and Liverpool…Rafa Benitez has discovered the true madness of a football club at Newcastle United.

Difficult to believe but exactly 365 days ago, when the Spaniard got up and opened his 56th birthday presents, Newcastle at that point still hadn’t won a game under him.

The 16 April 2016 saw the Newcastle players change that, a first half goal from Jamaal Lascelles and late ones from soon to be deserting rats Moussa Sissoko and Andros Townsend, saw United run out 3-0 winners over Swansea. The result sparking the beginning of some hope that survival might just be possible.

Almost the perfect circle when two days short of his 57th birthday, now Captain Jamaal Lascelles looked to have put Rafa and Newcastle one massive step into the Premier League with that goal against Leeds.

It sadly proved not to be as Chris Wood, who should have been marked by Jamaal Lascelles…, knocked in that last minute equaliser.

Surely though that is only delaying the inevitable as Newcastle stand eight points clear with four games remaining.

What a 12 months this has been though for Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United.

He started with a draw against the Mackems and defeats to Leicester, Norwich and Southampton, but just look at these stats from the last 365 days of Rafa Benitez at Newcastle United.

Rafa Benitez 16 April 2016 – 16 April 2017:

Played 55

Won 33

Drawn 11

Lost 11

Goals For 102

Goals Against 46

A brilliant return in anybody’s book.

Including the first four results this is the breakdown of how Rafa Benitez has performed at NUFC:

Premier League

P10 W3 D4 L3 GF16 GA12

Championship

P42 W26 D7 L9 GF75 GA36

Cups

P7 W4 D1 L2 GF15 GA6

Newcastle would make it only two of the last 18 relegated Premier League clubs to have bounced straight back to the top tier via automatic promotion.

A bit too much to expect that Rafa Benitez will match the stats above in the next 365 days but the Manager still at St James Park AND Premier League comfortable survival would be the perfect double in terms of the rebuilding job that needs to be done at Newcastle United.

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

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