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Opinion

Surely never a better game for Rafa Benitez to release the hounds

3 years ago
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Rafa Benitez was so unlucky in the last match at St James Park.

His players absolutely battered Leeds United, as the stats show below – the Magpies had 22 shots to the visitors’ four and 19 corners to zero.

They did little wrong apart from not putting the ball in the net more than the one time, though the Leeds keeper and centre-backs had outstanding games as well.

The only two blips for Newcastle were the early chance when Darlow saved well from Roofe after the ball came back off the crossbar, then the defence completely going missing when Chris Wood scored that last gasp equaliser.

In between though we saw an excellent attacking display of football by Newcastle, never giving Leeds a moment’s rest and pressing them back relentlessly.

The attacking emphasis and high tempo play got the crowd going from the start and the same tonight will surely see that combination of Newcastle fans and players blow Preston away.

The visitors have nothing to play for and I don’t think NUFC have anything to gain by going with the slower cautious approach that has dominated most of the season.

Those tactics have become less effective the longer the season has gone on and if we let Preston play their way into the game it is giving away the massive advantage of momentum that Rafa and his players should be employing from kick-off.

Release the hounds is what I say, let’s get after them and be promoted with a bit of style and a few goals.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Leeds 1

Goals:

Newcastle: Lascelles 67

Leeds: Wood 90+5

Possession was Leeds 44% Newcastle 56%

Total shots were  Leeds 4 Newcastle 22

Shots on target were Leeds 2 Newcastle 4

Corners were  Leeds 0 Newcastle 19

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Anita, Lascelles, Mbemba, Dummett, Ritchie (Yedlin 84), Shelvey, Hayden (Colback 79), Gouffran, Perez (Diame 90), Mitrovic

Unused Subs:

Elliot, Hanley, Murphy, Atsu

Crowd: 52,301 (Leeds 3,200)

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

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