On 26 August 2017, Rafa Benitez almost ‘achieved’ something that he had never previously managed in the Premier League.

In seven seasons, six at Liverpool and one at Chelsea, plus his time at Newcastle, Rafa had never lost three Premier League games in a row.

Reading this stat elsewhere, I had to check it out and sure enough it is true, the current Newcastle manager has never lost three PL games in succession.

To put this into context, in two months short of four seasons, it happened nine times to Newcastle before the Spaniard took over.

As well as those nine times, there was the six defeats in a row under Alan Pardew in 2013/14.

Then not to be outdone, John Carver amazingly managed eight losses in a row in 2014/15, a new all-time  record.

Liverpool (and Chelsea) may have generally had better teams than Newcastle when Rafa Benitez was in charge but it isn’t though they were the dominant team(s) with the very best players.

You can’t claim superhuman talents for Rafa that would have turned those Newcastle teams before he arrived into world beaters BUT it would be hard to argue that he wouldn’t have achieved significantly better results than Pardew, Carver and McClaren with the same players.

That is what we have at St James Park, for the time being, a manager who organises and inspires his team to be better than the individual parts.

The win against West Ham of course ensured that the three Premier League defeats in a row didn’t happen quite yet and indeed the Swansea victory that followed, meant that Newcastle were on the brink of WINNING three PL matches in a row for the first time in three years (Pardew fluked it in 2014/15 in what turned out to be a five match winning run).

On Saturday against Stoke the players got over that three Premier League matches in a row winning line.

Bottom line is that Rafa Benitez is suggesting that with scarce resources (£11.5m net spend this summer) he could well achieve results this season, with these players, that would equal Newcastle punching well above their weight.

The experts/pundits were lining up to tip Newcastle as automatic relegation candidates but the last trio of performances have made people think that comfortable safety could be a possibility, which would be a major plus on Rafa’s CV considering how Mike Ashley has undermined him.

However, there will be a glass ceiling which is pretty much impossible to break through without the manager being properly backed in the transfer market.

No expectations of Manchester City/PSG style funding but with a realistic budget just what could Rafa Benitez conjure up at St James Park?

  • TheNutJob

    Fat Micks as tricky as a box of monkeys. he`s got the Toon exactly where he wants them to be, around mid table for the cheapest outlay possible, he along with his minion Penfold will continue to undermine Rafa in January, mark my words on that

    • Steve Pearce

      Er – fourth place is not exactly mid table….

      • Lord

        Enjoy it whilst it lasts. For once, the fixture list has been really kind to us despite a tough first game – imagine where we could have been with Everton’s starting set of games.

        • MichaelMaximusMoose

          spot on

  • Steve Pearce

    Budget – what budget? If we are still in the top four and in Europe come the end of the season we may not have any funds at all as we will have achieved that with peanuts. Conversely, if Rafa has scuppered the fat stinking bag of pus’s plans for bare survival there would be a call for millions as the team we have will never compete in the Europa League let alone the Champions League. Realistically let us see where we are come January and the amount of money we get for transfers then – if we indeed get any at all!

  • magpiefifer

    It’s early days yet,but so far very promising.
    One problem is the number of cards we are picking up – hope we’ll cope with the suspensions when they come up!
    It’s still so frustrating to wonder what Rafa would be able to do with a decent spend.

  • Paul Busby

    If he isn’t provided some kind of budget in the next two windows, we wont be able to hang on to those players who have made a difference. You get the big boys calling in with huge offers, they get a whiff of the ambition on offer elsewhere and… off they go.
    It looks like Cashley got lucky with his gambling this summer and somehow assembled a potential top 10 team… just about… but if he doesn’t want a repeat of our last foray in the PL, he HAS to start treating the club like a proper PL club.

  • mactoon

    He is showing he has the capability to get the best out of the current squad and if he had the players he wanted we could have a good season, still could but I feel the squad isn’t big enough to maintain the current form. But if Ashley maintains his (current) strategy of making the club self-sufficient it depends how much he wants to give the Manager to spend. Even if we have profit he may not want to give it all out. Remember the club is still in his debt to over £100 million so if he wants to pay that off (the club won’t be self-sufficient until it is) we could see a few more lean years to come.

  • StevieB

    I was really pleased with the performance again on Saturday , to be honest we’ve been great for 3 games in a row and made two decent teams and West Ham look average (those two have just took Spurs and Man Utd to draws)
    I walked away on Saturday again though thinking , what if he’d have been given a number 10 and a premiership striker ?? We’d have been flying ,
    Just at the moment we look like an average set of players set up by a world class manager . It’s just such a shame cause we could have missed mid table out and been straight on to that 7th to 8th place slot this season after watching how good Rafa has them set up these days.
    Unfortunately Joselu needing 4-5 chances per game and Perez being absent in the number 10 slot will deny us of that at present.
    But great to see a motivated Newcastle team playing for each other and long may it continue .
    And let’s pray for a 9 and 10 in January 🤞

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      This mystical No.10 is not going to happen, Rafa doesn’t use them.

      • StevieB

        Where does Perez play then ?

        • Damon Horner

          Think he means type of player rather than actual position.

          Rafa looks at his No. 10 to work hard first and be highest line of defence rather than a typical No. 10 who has good creativity in the final third and float in pockets of space.

          Perez won’t be dropped anytime soon in my view.

          • StevieB

            What about trying Richie in the no 10 then? He ticks all those boxes you just mentioned and he’d be absolute dynamite in and around the 18yd box , there’d be some thunderbolts getting lashed in from the edge of the box with him there that’s for sure , and give Murphy a shot on the right .

  • Paul Patterson

    Let’s keep calm, support the lads and Rafa and see where we are on Bonfire Night after Bournemouth at home. Then we can gauge how good we can do this season..

  • ghostrider

    Jim Robertson
    Staff Writer – We don’t ask for much, a few decent players and some entertainment, plus a club that looks to do its best by everybody – including the fans.

    And then gets exactly what he asking for yet still cannot bring himself NOT to slag off the team.
    A weird bunch of people at times.

    • Damon Horner

      Some fans always want more mate. Everything comes down to Ashley but reality is the next owners won’t be too different.

  • Down Under Mag

    It’s a hard call to be honest, if you stick so-called “better” players in that team then there is a high chance that you will lose the fighting team spirit and I firmly believe THAT is what is getting us results right now. That never say die attitude of players who are comitted and are working hard for the cause. Yes, Rafa has them well organised and we are able to soak up pressure but the workrate is what I have been impressed with. Some more quality can be added but if we add that to a solid foundation of hard work then I expect we will probably be better off.