Garth Crooks has chosen his Premier League team of the week and included Jamaal Lascelles in the eleven, after Newcastle’s 1-0 win at Swansea.

The BBC pundit says that ‘Lascelles’ contribution to the victory was a bit special’.

Garth Crooks says the Newcastle captain ‘set the tone for the entire team’s performance’ and that this ‘classic away win’ was the perfect tonic for Rafa Benitez who was forced to watch the game at home, due to the after effects of surgery.

However, to Crooks’ credit, he opened up on the underlying problems at St James Park, which can be basically summed up in two words – Mike Ashley.

He says that Newcastle ‘have a great manager, an amazing set of fans and a team clearly proud to wear the shirt’.

Garth Crooks looks at the overall picture and says that with the crippling lack of investment in the squad this summer, there isn’t a ‘real chance of survival’ without Rafa getting proper financial backing.

Wrapping it up, Crooks says if Mike Ashley is not prepared to back his manager ‘he should sell the club and let someone else do it’.

Garth Crooks talking to BBC Sport:

“It was Jamaal Lascelles’ block on the line that set up both the 1-0 victory for Newcastle at Swansea on Sunday and the tone for the entire team’s performance.

“If ever you wanted to give your manager a lift on his sick bed (Rafa Benitez was absent through illness) then a classic away win is certainly the way to do it.

“Lascelles’ contribution to the victory was a bit special.

But does owner Mike Ashley really expect a young side, giving everything at the moment, to survive the season in the Premier League with the resources he has given them? If he does then he is living in cloud cuckoo land.

“Ashley needs to get his hand in his pocket and invest properly in a team the city of Newcastle deserve. They have a great manager, an amazing set of fans and a team clearly proud to wear the shirt.

“Benitez has brought some wonderful young talent through and made players out of them.

“Players like Matt Ritchie and Lascelles have developed brilliantly under the watchful eye of the Spaniard and they deserve more support and their manager the finances to enable him to give the team a real chance of survival. It’s the least Ashley can do.

“If not, he should sell the club and let someone else do it.”

Garth Crooks Team of the week:

Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea)

John Stones (Manchester City)

James Tarkowski (Burnley)

Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle)

Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)

Christian Eriksen (Tottenham)

Pascal Gross (Brighton)

Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City)

Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Stoke)

Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)

Stats from BBC Sport:

Swansea 0 Newcastle 1


Newcastle: Lascelles 76

Possession was Swansea 62% Newcastle 38%

Total shots were  Swansea 10 Newcastle 16

Shots on target were Swansea  4 Newcastle 8

Corners were  Swansea 7 Newcastle 5

Referee: Mike Jones

Newcastle United:

Elliot, Manquillo, Lascelles, Clark, Gamez, Ritchie, Hayden (Diame 69), Merino, Murphy (Atsu 59), Perez, Joselu (Gayle 78)

Unused Subs:

Woodman, Shelvey, Yedlin, Lejeune

Crowd: 20,872 (2,000 Newcastle)

(Read instant NUFC fan/writer reaction after final whistle HERE)

(Read Alan Shearer’s reaction to the Newcastle win HERE)

(Give us your Newcastle player ratings v Swansea HERE)

(Credit to Swansea boss Paul Clement for this post-match reaction HERE)

(Steve Claridge says Newcastle ‘Nicked it’)

  • Mrkgw

    Incredibly well chosen and very fitting words from Garth Crooks.

  • Geordie-7676

    Lascelles played a blinder, and it would be hard not to choose him as MOTM, but for me, Matt Ritchie was absolutely immense.

    His work rate was incredible, breaking up play, making good runs, slick passes and constantly driving the team forward.

    Making a goal-line clearance then going up the other end to notch the winner will always get the plaudits it deserves, but without Ritchie’s effort and commitment yesterday i think the game would of played out differently. I would of definitely had him in ahead of Gross.

    • Wor Lass

      He was incredible!

    • Trevor Reaveley

      Yep, Ritchie certainly covers some ground. I noticed at one point yesterday when he lost the ball on one side of the pitch, he hounded the Swansea player to the opposite side until he had a chance to pass it, and made a mistake with the pass.
      That’s the sort of commitment that will do us good this year.

  • ghostrider

    I thought Garth Crook’s comments were basically cack.
    The bit about Lascelles was fine but the bit about the young side not being able to cope is absolutely garbage.
    He’s almost trying to make out that we fielded a bunch of 16 year old players for crying out loud.
    He then says we will be in relegation trouble.
    You can’t get any common sense out of these people.

    There’s teams that have zero points and others that are struggling badly considering their summer spends and yet we are in danger of relegation for lower spends but a well drilled unit and those other teams are just having minor blips and will most likely be absolutely fine.

    I honestly don’t know if these supposed pundits are genuinely saying this stuff or they’re being puppets for the real string pulling southern….northern bashing press/media.

    • Geordie-7676

      In all fairness, i think any NUFC fan that DOESN’T think we are going to be in a relegation battle come the end of the season needs a reality check. We have had two good performances and results, but they have come against teams that haven’t really clicked yet.

      Do we/will we have enough to stay up? I think so yes, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that we have one hell of a long slog ahead picking up the required points – the squad is well drilled, defensively sound (Against weak opposition) and have managed to solidify the midfield areas, but at some point it will drop off, and only then will we get a true glimpse of the teams abilities.

      I hope i am wrong and we end up in a comfortable mid-table position, but being totally honest, i think that’s wishful thinking at this stage.

      • Wor Lass

        Looking at last season`s final standings, Southampton finished 8th with 46 points. Every team from them down were sweating on possible relegation at times. Rafa`s got us well organised, full of spirit and hard to beat but we haven`t got a reliable, natural PL goal-scorer so we`ll struggle to make real headway because of that. I`m convinced Everton would have been much nearer the mid 40 mark if they hadn`t had Lukaku to win games for them.

        • Geordie-7676

          Never has there been such an obvious gulf in class between the top 7 and the rest of the league. It pretty much is a free for all outside of the European spots.

          If we maintain the organisational side of things and manage to pick up points like yesterday (We were the better team, but honestly, i couldn’t see a goal coming from open play – Joselu header was the best chance, but nothing any real note outside of that) in hard fought, contained matches, then i do honestly think we will get to the 40 points mark sooner rather than later, but, and this is my real worry, will the organisation and commitment extend to the fringe players when the inevitable suspensions and injuries start showing their heads? I think that is asking a lot of the younger, less experienced players.

          Keep suspensions to a minimum and get lucky with injuries and based on yesterdays performance we should be fine. Certainly a lot better than i was expecting so far.

          • Damon Horner

            I suppose the lack of experience and input from the fringe players is where Rafa is a useful guy to have in our armoury.

            I reckon the squad depth looks ok to cope, even to date we have been missing Yedlin, Lejeune, Dummett, Gayle and Shelvey from the outset and lost Mbemba and Mitrovic inbetween not to Colback out of favour and we have still produced a full bench and a disciplined unit so the lads are passing that test so far.

          • Geordie-7676

            They are doing a great job so far. I think if any of us had been offered 6 points from 12 in the first 4 matches we would of snapped their hands off.

            Squad depth is nowhere near as bad as alot of people made it out to be last week, and we have cover in pretty much all areas (Gamez did a fantastic job at left back yesterday, proving additional depth that didn’t really exist until the final whistle) but to a certain extent we have been lucky in that the spine of the team has been constant. Clark, Hayden, Merino, Ritchie have all been available. If we were to lose a multiple, or all of those then things might not look so rosy.

      • ghostrider

        I don’t think anyone’s asking for mid table positions.
        Garth Crooks is basically saying this squad is too young and can’t cope.
        It’s far from too young.
        It might not be the most talented squad or the most experienced, but then again it’s blatantly obvious when you consider we’ve only just been promoted back with a near new squad.

        As for other teams not clicking. Neither have we, on the whole, so if anything it’s on par.
        The simple fact is very clear for all.
        If we finish 17th it constitutes a decent season back in terms of being able to take the next premier league step bu suing the first installment of the premier league money that comes our way.

        Anything higher than 17th would be classed as a good season back and maybe for some southern pundits, be classed as a fluke or over-achievement.
        Again, the real truth is, this team/squad that we have is far better than people are willing to give credit for but not so good as to get carried away too early.

      • Jezza

        Excellent comment.

    • Jezza

      There are an awful lot of absolute clowns within the football media but Garth Crooks is not one of them. He is one of the few decent ones. His comments were 100% spot on.

      • Geordie-7676

        He’s a boring b*****d, but as you say, always give’s a fair analysis.

      • ghostrider

        His comments were half right and half wide of the mark.

  • Wor Lass

    Could somebody please explain what the point is of telling us what somebody said then printing what they said. And who cares what this FA yes-man has to say anyway? I am, though, looking forward to the “Interesting things said by Swansea supporters after the match” article.

  • Steve Pearce

    Oh leave the lad alone – he works for the BBC and as we all know they hate Newcastle. Indeed they hate it so much even on Radio Newcastle they broadcast Scumderland games on FM sometimes leaving us with the barely obtainable AM. We won the match, we were the better team and Garth Crooks and his fellow Geordie haters can go and stick their own heeds up their jacksies for all I care!

  • Andy Mac

    So Shay Given, Andrew Cole (as he likes to be known) and now Garth Crooks ? Maybe the message is finally getting through ? Fatman not fit to run this club!

  • Grahame Johnson

    How good was it to see Gayle,Atzu,Ritchie and Diame closing down Swansea’s defence and midfield from 88 mins to the final whistle, we used our sub’s wisely