Michael Owen on Rafa Benitez priorities at Newcastle United
Michael Owen believes that Rafa Benitez will be thinking priorities ahead of Sunday.
The Newcastle boss surprised everybody when playing such a strong team in the FA Cup third round clash with Luton.
Apart from giving Freddie Woodman a game in goal and protecting first choice Karl Darlow, the outfield 10 were basically his first team.
Newcastle had a clear week before facing Swansea seven days later and that was obviously key to his decision.
However, back in December, the Newcastle boss made numerous changes to his side to face Manchester City. Ever the pragmatist, Rafa Benitez played a weaker line-up against the champions-elect as he had only three days before a vital relegation clash with Brighton.
Michael Owen thinks Benitez will be thinking more about trying to get a win against Burnley on Wednesday in the Premier League, than an unlikely looking victory over Chelsea in the FA Cup.
The former Newcastle striker also highlights an amazing statistic when it comes to how both Chelsea and Newcastle have fared in the FA Cup in recent times.
Under Mike Ashley, shockingly Newcastle have never reached the fifth round of the FA Cup, this season their 11th attempt.
In contrast, if Chelsea progress as the bookies expect against Newcastle, it will be 18 times out of the last 20 that the blues have reached the fifth round. In addition, Chelsea have won the FA Cup six times in the last 21 years.
Michael Owen believes that Chelsea will win but that it will be a low scoring match, with no more than two goals in the game.
If Newcastle could find a goal or two then they could certainly be in business.
Chelsea beat Brighton 4-0 in the Premier League but Conte’s team in the other five of their last six games (all competitions) have seen them score no goals in three of the matches and only one in each of the other two games. With Norwich only conceding one goal in over three and a half hours against Chelsea, Newcastle could stand every chance of keeping it tight at the back, then who knows…
Michael Owen talking to BetVictor:
“Newcastle have not reached the fifth round since 2006 and I cannot see the Magpies getting a result at Stamford Bridge at the weekend.
“The Blues have reached the fifth Round in 17 of the last 19 seasons and I expect Antonio Conte’s side to win a low-scoring affair on Sunday.
“Newcastle entertain Burnley in the Premier League on Wednesday and it would be no surprise to see Rafa Benitez prioritise three points against the Clarets over the FA Cup.
“Tip is Chelsea to win and under 2.5 goals at 12/5.”
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