Rafa Benitez indicated before playing Chelsea that his team included some players who he hoped to be moving out in the remaining days of this transfer window, little doubt that Massadio Haidara was one of them.

One of the many disastrous signings made under the Mike Ashley and Graham Carr plan of buying ‘bargains’ from abroad and hoping they increase in value.

Instead, Massadio Haidara has proved nowhere near good enough and Newcastle have found it impossible to shift him out of the club.

In the Summer it looked as though he was returning to France but the defender refused to take a pay cut in return for the chance of actually playing football, preferring to stay at Newcastle and pick up Premier League wages.

He hasn’t started a league match since September 2015 and in his five years at the club has made only 23 Premier League starts.

Whilst injuries have also played a major part, he simply isn’t good enough, and certainly if any interested clubs were watching at Chelsea, then it looks certain he will see out the remaining months of his contract at St James Park, or get paid off early just as Rafa did with Obertan and Marveaux to get them out of the club.

Haidara’s start against Chelsea was his first since playing in the 3-0 FA Cup defeat 12 months ago and he really struggled defensively.

As we have seen previously, the Frenchman has a little bit of ability and did a couple of decent things going forward but at the back he is a liability, TV replays showing him simply strolling back as Chelsea scored the killer second goal.

It would be great news if Rafa could finally move players in and out this month but there is probably as much chance of finding a new club for Massadio Haidara, as there is of Ashley finally backing his manager with any buys.

Yesterday’s defeat wasn’t solely down to Haidara of course, he was just one of a number of poor players, but his presence was just yet another reminder of the failure to buy quality under Mike Ashley, the policy of buying cheap from weak leagues abroad and hoping for the best, proving far more costly in the long run.

Massadio Haidara talking to NUFC TV:

“We are really disappointed…I think the result was harsh.

We did well until the 31st minute and pressed well, we had a couple of chances and didn’t take them.

“Against teams like this, if you don’t score then it is very hard to carry on after that, because they have the quality to score goals.

“But we can be disappointed with the result.

“We had a couple of chances (in the first half) with Jonjo Shelvey and Dwight Gayle but we didn’t score and if we had scored the game could be different.

“We could see the difference between the two halves, the first half really good and the second half we had less chances – Chelsea pushed higher and made it difficult for us.

“I am happy to play my first 90 minutes (of the season) with the first team but I am disappointed with the result afterwards.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Chelsea 3 Newcastle 0


Chelsea: Batshuayi 31,44 Alonso 72

Possession was Chelsea 61% Newcastle 39%

Total shots were Chelsea 18 Newcastle 9

Shots on target were Chelsea 8 Newcastle 6

Corners were  Chelsea 5 Newcastle 4

Referee: Kevin Friend

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Manquillo (Murphy 77), Lascelles, Clark, Mbemba, Haidara, Saivet, Hayden (Atsu 83), Shelvey, Ritchie, Gayle (Joselu 64)

Unused Subs:

Woodman, Diame, Dummett, Yedlin

Crowd: 41,049

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

(To view the fan Newcastle player ratings and to add your own go HERE)

(To read what Rafa had to say after the match go HERE)

  • ghostrider

    Chelsea used us as a training game in the second half.
    We were getting nothing from that game because we didn’t deserve anything.
    We do the same stuff all the time. Have a go for a short while and then sit back as if being 2-0 down will somehow allow us to progress.

    It’s criminal not having a real go in an FA cup game, never mind in any game.


    • justchampion

      Who’s fault is that? It will always be that way when fighting for PL survival. But you can’t see that as you’re too far up Ashley. You really are a prize plum.

      • ghostrider

        Here’s a question for you and answer it honestly.
        If Ashley decided to back rafa with 200 million in the summer and then another 100 million in January with no limit on any individual player, do you think we would win the league or finish in the top 4?
        If you think we would, then how much would Ashley need to spend to guarantee top 4 if you think it could be done for less?

        Now here’s the stumbling blocks just so you can think on what you’re dealing with.

        Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd, Liverpool and co would be following suit and STEALING ahead of us for targets in that class.
        Those clubs would be able to pull much better with wages and geographical locations.

        Now what happens if we still don’t manage to finish in the top 4 and maybe finish 6th or so…or worse.
        What happens then?
        Do the fans get on Ashley’s back or Rafa’s?
        Do the fans just ask for more money with a satisfied smirk, knowing the club is higher up?

        Is Rafa so good that he can bore us into the top 4 on a budget of 100 million?

        Imagine if we failed.
        This is what we would have.

        A manager on a massive contract.
        Players on long contracts with wages in the £150,000 a week and then some for many.
        Imagine the turmoil of sorting that out when the players show their true mercenary colours.

        Might not happen that way, eh?
        We are an “also_ran” team like the rest of the clubs outside of the elite.
        We get out perks as and when the powers that be decide it….and the powers that be aren’t Ashley and co.

        Think on that.

        • Charlie Dickens

          Like your dual use of the word bore – very good.

    • GToon

      To take it to an extreme example to illustrate what Rafa is doing. If you were manager of a bunch of u12s and you were up against a men’s team would you try and play an open expansive game against them or would you pack your own half and try and defend and maybe if one of the little kids is quick enough, pinch a goal. I don’t like the way we play anymore than you do but sometimes you can only play a certain way if the gulf between the teams is that big. However, I don’t expect this approach against the teams around us in the EPL.

      • hetonmag

        The gulf in class was very much in evidence yesterday 2 mistakes and 2 goals down you just can’t blame Rafa for that, the player’s Rafa brought in are simply not good enough he knows that because they’ve hardly featured this season.

      • ghostrider

        Sorry mate but we don’t have a bunch of under 12’s and also we do have a squad that is more than capable of giving any team a game of football for 90 plus minutes.
        That doesn’t mean to say we will win more than we lose but it does mean that we will be able to compete in a balanced way.

        There is no excuse for us being played negatively and unbalanced.
        It’s 11 verses 11 and on any given day the underdog can prevail by having a go.
        A negative mindset is bad on all counts.
        1. It severely limits our ability to hold out against wave after wave of attack.

        2. It severely undermines the offensive minded players who are ordered to do the opposite of what they’re capable of and in doing so zaps their confidence and attacking ability when the time allows it.

        I’m fairly confident that 99% of managers playing the Rafa way as he does here would be crucified to such an extent as to be sacked.
        What makes it worse is Rafa refusing to play players he didn’t buy in favour of flops that he did buy, but also bemoaning the quality of them as nothing other than championship players.

        The man is a ridiculous manager that’s either deliberately doing it or has lost the plot .

    • grantham mag

      His next job will Man Utd when the special one wins nothing this year.

  • Charlie Dickens

    If you watch the replay for that goal mentioned in the article, Haidara’s man is on the outside. To blame a full back for a goal scored by the Chelsea centre-forward because of a midfielder losing the ball when we have THREE centre-halves playing is beyond partisan. And Lascelles was poor yesterday, the lad is never England quality, but like Ritchie earlier in the season, is beyond criticism. He’ll improve but he isn’t there yet. Other websites have said Haidara was our best player yesterday. Never let the truth get in the way of your agenda. With a run in the side it’d be clear that Haidara is superior to Manquillo or Dummett, not that that’s saying much.

    • hetonmag

      You are only as good as the player’s around you, instead of having ago at Lascelles have a look at his partners in defence. Ciran Clarke for one has been found out in the Premier, Mbemba was poor as was Haidara, yes the Captain isn’t England quality at the moment but as you say he has time on his side.

      • Charlie Dickens

        Yeah, Lascelles is important as he organizes the defence, but talk of England is premature and cringeworthy. He’s a young lad who’ll develop but right now, he’s learning his trade. The way some people go on, it’s like he’s Tony Adams or Sol Campbell (both of whom had their issues at the start of their careers before becoming rock solid). Clark is Sunday league. His technique and distribution are embarrassing for a top-tier footballer. Mbemba needs games. As does Haidara, or any of our fringe players before they can be judged. My issue was with the absolute nature of the criticism in another two-bob partisan article, without taking into account these factors.

        • hetonmag

          I remember being at NUFC game Vs Arsenal I don’t know what year it was but the thing that stuck with me in that game was the loud donkey chant’s every time Tony Adams was on the ball, and he went on to become a cracking CB. He was only young at the time,so you just hope Jamaal goes the right way.

          • Charlie Dickens

            Aye, that’s the point I’m making, but he’s not there yet, so let’s let him develop before expecting him to make the international team and seeing it as more persecution against the North-East because he isn’t being selected. One day, maybe. Right now, no chance.

    • Rich Lawson

      Love your books Charlie,Is this the 1st of many quotes from ”Bleak House” ?

  • Steve

    Yep, he’s right, if we’d scored it would have been so different 3-1 instead of 3-0! What a muppet!!!

  • Brian Marshall

    And if I’d picked different lottery numbers I would have been a millionaire !,

    • Rich Lawson

      No ”Lucky Dips” from this squad !

  • paul mclaughlan

    It’s funny I think the same thing after every defeat/draw.

  • thewildchimp

    “If” seems to be the word of the season. Great when pared with “only”.

    “If Ashley actually used some of the club’s money for the club, we wouldn’t be in dire straits.”
    “If Gayle knew how to head the ball, we’d have at least 6 points more.”
    “If only Mitro was selected instead oh Joselu.”
    “If only we had a good striker.”

    “If only we could actually have a chance of getting a good new striker.”

    Sadly, it’s true 99% of the time.