Garth Crooks “How long before Rafa loses patience and packs his bags?”
Garth Crooks thought Riyad Mahrez was outstanding against Newcastle.
Crooks picking the Leicester winger in his Premier League team of the week.
The BBC Sport pundit pointing to Mahrez’ goal to equalise Joselu’s fourth minute opener, after an earlier chance that brought a very good save from Karl Darlow.
When Leicester City went 2-1 up, the winger’s long distance diagonal pass ‘cut Newcastle to ribbons’ according to Garth Crooks, Albrighton laid that pass off to Gray who finished via a deflection.
Claude Puel has been in charge less than seven weeks but Crooks thinks he has already had a massive impact on the form of Riyad Mahrez.
He points to previous success with star players who ‘have lost their shine’, nowhere more so than when Puel took on free transfer Hatem Ben Arfa and he scored 18 goals in 2015/16, taking Nice from nowhere to fourth in the table and European football.
It wasn’t great for Newcastle fans to hear that not only had they lost but that Leicester’s manager, players and fans, didn’t even think they had played particularly well, compared to their previous wins over Burnley and Tottenham.
In most circumstances such as the Newcastle face after one point from twenty one, the main topic would be how long before the manager gets the push if things don’t pick up.
However, everybody knows that the team’s struggles all flow back to one person and that is Mike Ashley.
Obviously, manager and players have to share some of the responsibility but the bottom line is that the refusal of Ashley to back Rafa in the summer with a realistic transfer budget, ensured that this season was always going to be a relegation struggle.
So Garth Crooks is instead asking the question: ‘How long will it be before Rafa loses patience and packs his bags?’.
Garth Crooks talking to BBC Sport:
“Since the arrival of manager Claude Puel, who has a reputation for getting star players who have lost their shine to glisten again, Riyad Mahrez has looked something like the player who won the PFA Footballer of the Year in 2015/16.
“His pass to Marc Albrighton for Demarai Gray’s goal cut Newcastle to ribbons.
“Mahrez then forced a great save from goalkeeper Karl Darlow before he stole the ball in midfield and set his side free on a raid that finished in the back of the Newcastle net.
“Puel was quick to state this victory over the Magpies was not one of his team’s best performances, but I saw elements of the same vigour and excitement that were evident when they won the Premier title.
“Will we ever see the like of that again?
“As for Newcastle’s third consecutive defeat, how long will it be before Rafa loses patience and packs his bags?”
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction after the defeat HERE)
(Phil Neville gives brutal overview of Newcastle team, read HERE)
(Alan Shearer explains to outsiders how Mike Ashley has respect for no one – read HERE)
(Very interesting comments from Leicester fans about Newcastle United, read HERE)
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