Tony Cascarino somehow now makes a living out of being an expert talking about football.
Whilst his contribution is welcomed in sending Sunderland into the third tier in 1987, I think he should just leave his contribution to north east football at that point.
However, for some reason he has decided that we need his voice added to the nonsense talked about Newcastle’s match(es) with Manchester City.
Tony Cascarino criticises Rafa Benitez’ tactics and claims the defensive approach was so he didn’t get ’embarrassed’ by the eventual potential scoreline – the pundit claiming losing 6-1 was not really any worse than losing 3-1 as it was still zero points regardless.
His killer comment though being:
“Why more teams aren’t following the lead of Liverpool and Bristol City and attacking them is beyond me.”
As it happens I wrote an article (see below) that The Mag kindly published after Liverpool beat Manchester City eight days ago.
The tongue in cheek headline (‘Liverpool show Newcastle United the way to beat Manchester City – No excuses for Rafa now’) attracted plenty of attention, especially on social media from those who didn’t actually bother to read the article…
The punchline was that ‘all’ Rafa had to do was break Newcastle’s transfer record last week and have a whole new attacking five by the time they visited Manchester City. The cheapest of Liverpool’s front five being Wijnaldum who cost £25m, which is £9m more than Newcastle’s record transfer and more than twice as much as Mike Ashley has allowed Rafa Benitez to spend on any player.
If Newcastle tried to attack like Liverpool did then the Magpies would get annihilated. The quality and pace is simply not there, against the very best team (by far). Man City are a team apart, as Rafa Benitez DID go and attack both Chelsea and Manchester United away and actually took the lead in both matches, before the lack of quality ensured eventual defeat(s).
As for a scoreline not mattering in terms of goals you are beaten by, well it does actually.
Newcastle would actually be fourth bottom instead of sixth bottom if it wasn’t for their goal difference.
With Swansea currently leading Swansea 1-0 tonight, at the moment the Premier League sees only six points separating 10th and 20th, at the minute only one team in the bottom eight has a better goal difference than Newcastle. At the end of the season it could be crucial, we accept Newcastle’s squad/team aren’t very good and that Rafa has to work every single margin.
The fact above all else though is that it was because of Rafa’s tactics that in both matches against Manchester City, Newcastle WERE still in the game on both occasions right until the final stages, in both matches there were chances to equalise to make it 1-1 at St James Park and 2-2 at the Etihad.
No, as Newcastle fans we don’t welcome watching this football and using these tactics BUT understand it is a short-term necessity because of how badly Mike Ashley has undermined the manager with signings. The expectation of both Rafa and the Newcastle fans is that next season (if there is one) NUFC will be able to offer a slightly different challenge to Man City. Not all out attack but certainly more of a threat via new signings.
As for Bristol City, this is a bit of a bogus argument. Yes good luck to the Championship side and they gave it a go at the Etihad BUT they weren’t facing the full on Manchester City team.
Pep Guardiola took a chance for that League Cup semi-final leg against second tier opposition, unlike against Newcastle. The Man City boss made seven changes from the 11 players who had faced Watford in their previous Premier League match.
Man City played Bristol City with no Silva, Aguero, Walker, Fernandiho etc and they played without a recognised striker, Sterling moved into the middle.
This season, due to Mike Ashley not backing Rafa Benitez to bring in the right level of players in the summer, is all about survival and the Newcastle fans are well behind whatever short-term tactics Benitez has to use to get us through it.
Tony Cascarino talking to The Times:
“Newcastle United’s approach at Manchester City was typical of teams this season and it is playing right into the hands of Pep Guardiola.
“If teams are hoping to put men behind the ball and nick a point, it isn’t going to work.
“Newcastle were 2-0 down before two attacking substitutions were made and they got a goal back and had other chances.
“Why more teams aren’t following the lead of Liverpool and Bristol City and attacking them is beyond me.
“Rafa Benitez didn’t want to be embarrassed but if you have a go and lose 6-1 it’s still as many points as losing 3-1.”
That article what I wrote – The Mag 14 January 2018:
After 20 wins and 2 draws in their opening 22 Premier League matches, Manchester City are at last beaten.
A dramatic match at Anfield saw Liverpool win a thrilling game 4-3 (remember them…?).
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave Liverpool a ninth minute lead, only for Leroy Sane to equalise for Manchester City five minutes before half-time.
No further goals until Firmino, initiated a dramatic period of three Liverpool goals in nine minutes without reply, midway through the second-half, Mane and Salah with the third and fourth.
Manchester City wouldn’t lie down though and Bernardo Silva gave them faint hope when reducing the deficit to two goals in the 84th minute, before Gundongan gave them real hope when making it 4-3 in the first minute of injury time. There was still time for Aguero to put a header narrowly wide before the final whistle.
The answer is now obvious for Rafa Benitez ahead of next Saturday’s visit to the Etihad.
Rather than park the bus once again, the Newcastle boss simply has to go out and break Newcastle United’s transfer record five times in the next few days.
Plucky minnows Liverpool having achieved the 4-3 win with a front five of…
Four of those players just happening to be the goalscorers today.
Clearly there can be no excuses for Rafa Benitez this time.
He has been shown the way to take the game to Manchester City and beat them, so he simply needs to replicate what he watched today…
(***Next week we will be showing you how to build a spaceship using an empty cornflakes box, a handful of rubber bands, a balloon, two carrots and a vivid imagination)