Rafa Benitez was beaten but unbowed after the Arsenal match.

The United boss happy with what he saw from his players against a side that had won 12 of their last 13 Premier League home matches.

A one goal defeat, Rafa saying ‘It was a pity’ as his players, especially Ayoze Perez, had late chances to grab a draw.

The manager believes that if the team repeat that level of performance then ‘we will have a couple of games where we get better results’.

Six of the last seven matches have been against teams in the top half of the table, including away matches at Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal, no coincidence the only game Newcastle didn’t lose was against fellow relegation strugglers West Brom.

No doubt a ‘couple’ of wins would do wonders for everybody connected to Newcastle United and the next 27 days look to be make or break really.

I don’t even want to think about having to play Manchester City twice within three and a half weeks, but bottom line is, that four of our next five matches are against West Ham, Stoke, Brighton and Swansea, clubs that are all in the bottom six.

If Newcastle don’t pick up at least six or seven points from those matches, then surely the writing is on the wall.

Rafa Benitez says that he also hopes to ‘bring in some additions that will bring a lift to the team’.

Naturally we are all desperate that this happens, no matter who owns the club, but Newcastle play West Ham, Brighton and Stoke by the close of New Year’s Day and even Swansea on Saturday 13 January would be maybe too early for any new signings to be properly integrated, even if they are brought in as soon as the transfer window opens.

Rafa Benitez:

“We will try to bring in some additions that will bring a lift to the team.

“The fans know the team will be tough.

“They also know we need something in January that will help the current squad.

“We had our chances (against Arsenal). We were pushing and attacking. We had chances to draw. It was a pity.

“We are learning, in some games we are one goal behind. The players are working hard. It’s a pity.

“We need to be competitive like today and keep going. We are a young team and when you are not winning you lose confidence, so we have to keep working this way.

“The difference between teams around the table is not too big.

“If we continue playing like this, we will have a couple of games where we get better results, that will give us more confidence.

“It will be easier for us to continue with the same attitude and message, trying to win more games.”

“Our situation is that we did so well for a while (early in the season) that everybody was expecting that we could be in the top ten, but we knew that this team, coming back from the Championship last year and doing the things that we did (ED: and didn’t do…) in the summer, had to be near the bottom of the table.

“Obviously, the (recent) results have not given us much confidence, and we had two or three injuries, when maybe we could have done better against teams that are closer to us.

“We didn’t do that because we couldn’t.

“We lost by one goal (at Arsenal), and then we are in a position that could be expected, because the things that we did were right.

“Now we have to put things right, make sure that we continue with this mentality and spirit, playing better if we can.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Arsenal 1 Newcastle 0

Goals:

Arsenal: Ozil 23

Possession was Arsenal 71% Newcastle 29%

Total shots were  Arsenal 23 Newcastle 10

Shots on target were Arsenal 5 Newcastle 2

Corners were  Arsenal 7 Newcastle 5

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Newcastle United:

Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo, Murphy (Gayle 67), Hayden, Merino (Diame 82), Atsu (Ritchie 54), Perez, Joselu

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Clark, Dummett, Aarons

Crowd: 59,379 (Newcastle 3,000)

(Method in the madness of Rafa’s team selection – Read HERE)

(To read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the Arsenal match, go HERE)

(Newcastle in bottom three after Saturday results, read HERE)



  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Newcastle will never learn, or should i say Fatso. you must have at least 1 good striker to survive in this league, We haven`t got any.
    watching those 2 up front was pathetic, it`s up to the Fat Guy & Rafa.

    • Andy Mac

      The Fatman regime just seems to be a series of Groundhog Seasons ? Every year we look forward and end up looking over our shoulder hoping we’re not as sh.. as three others ? Except when we’re in the EFL of course.

  • Arty Hume

    IMHO we need a striker on loan and we also need to buy one. It will take Dummett time to get back into playing and lets face it he was never the best F.B we had, he had his critics, but hey he’s got to be worth trying instead of what we have now. Surely someone wants Colback/Dear-me/Mitro and some others? Unfortunately I doubt if Mitro will ever have a part in Rafa’s team again, simply because if he did score it would confirm how wrong Rafa was in leaving him out. This whole season has been a dogs dinner and its not half way yet, I am resigned to the drop now, anything other than that is a bonus!

  • anyobrien

    We’ll be Alreet man

  • Andy Mac

    There’s a real danger in hanging your hat on to new players coming in during the January window knowing how some take time to acclimatise, some may not be fit or some may not be as good as you thought ?

    It’s something that Rafa needs to be very careful about. If he chooses the players and they bomb or just dont perform according to expectations where can he go after that ?

  • Tino o

    Half of the table are in bother at the moment I’m more confident with Benitez getting us the points to survive than mclaren, carver, or pardew which would be the standard of his replacement get rid of fatty and move forward ! Job done!