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Opinion

Only 1 Newcastle survivor will face Tottenham from 5-1 team 15 months ago

4 years ago
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Difficult to believe but it is a only 15 months since we watched Newcastle 5 Tottenham 1 on the final day of the 2015/16 season.

It may have been a game where Newcastle were already relegated and Tottenham guaranteed Champions League football – but it was still a scoreline and performance that got everybody talking.

Many comments along the lines of ‘if only certain players had shown this much fight all season…’, the desire shown by some that day, very much at odds with what had gone before. Many fans wondering how much of it was due to players wanting to impress potential buyers…

Moussa Sissoko summed up this point of view as he was at the heart of the action, the scoreline especially impressive taking into account the fact that Mitrovic got stupidly sent off (which meant missing the start of the Championship season) when the score was only 2-1.

United scoring three more after being reduced to 10 men and the scorers that day were Mitrovic, Aarons, Janmaat and Wijnaldum (2).

Looking ahead to next Sunday and it is startling that only one of the eleven starters from that 5-1 match is set to be named in Rafa’s starting eleven.

The team on 15 May 2016 was:

Darlow, Janmaat, Taylor, Mbemba, Dummett, Tiote, Colback, Wijnaldum, Sissoko, Townsend, Mitrovic

Of that side which beat Spurs 5-1, six of the players got moves away from Newcastle.

The five that are still at St James Park – Rafa would happily sell Darlow, Mbemba, Colback and Mitrovic, having made clear that Karl Darlow is up for sale and the other three weren’t even first choice in the Championship.

Paul Dummett is the stand alone player who is sure to start on 13 August 2017 and it is fair to say that many/most supporters think that this position in the team is desperately in need of strengthening. Dummett earning the right to be one of the first team squad in the Premier League but generally considered to not quite have the quality to be first choice in the top tier.

With some new signings maybe needing time to adjust, this is how Rafa’s likely team selection next Sunday is looking:

Elliot, Manquillo, Clark, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Hayden, Atsu, Diame (or Perez), Gayle

That predicted side containing eight (seven if Perez selected) Rafa Benitez signings and only Elliot, Dummett and Shelvey surviving from the pre-Rafa era.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide how this current team measures up to the one that turned out 15 months ago…

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

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