Wednesday was an interesting night for Newcastle United fans in a variety of ways.
Never going to be the most exciting match against a Burnley side built on solid defending and missing a number of key players. It was obviously gutting to not take all three points but despite that there were a number of positives, as well as an odd negative.
Newcastle created a decent number of chances both before and after the break, plus of course got a first Premier League penalty in a long long time.
The fact it was such a feeble attempt at scoring the penalty was naturally quite a big negative, which is then linked to the other major downside – the late Burnley equaliser.
If Joselu had steered his spot-kick into the net and/or put away the easy second-half chance that fell his way courtesy of Murphy, then the 85th minute effort from the visitors would have only been a consolation for them. Instead of the reality, which is that the dropped two points are potentially disastrous for Rafa and his players.
The real stand out thing though in the match, was the impact of the two new players.
That new lad who has taken the place of Mohamed Diame was outstanding, a massive coincidence that he shares the same name as well…
Whilst it is very difficult to comprehend Diame’s transformation from liability for 18 months to suddenly looking a good player, with Kenedy it is far more simple.
Basically, the Brazilian has come in and reminded Newcastle fans of just how poor this Newcastle squad is, which also reminds us of the minor miracles performed by Rafa Benitez to have accumulated as many as 24 points by this stage.
Despite being Chelsea’s third choice left-back (though admittedly his strength is more going forward than backwards) and this his first appearance for Newcastle, Kenedy was the main man.
The other players just kept trying to give the ball to him and he was constantly trying to make things happen in the opposition half.
What a revelation compared to what we have seen so far, someone actually taking opposition players on! Kenedy was taking all the corners and free-kicks, won the penalty, plus was desperately unlucky to see yet another excellent run end with his effort coming back off the post.
The downside of this, is the realisation that Chelsea’s third choice left-back is also now Newcastle’s biggest attacking threat. The Newcastle players/squad aren’t terrible, they are just a very average bunch who try.
Let’s have a look at what we could have won…
There is every chance that if Islam Slimani can get fit quickly, he will also very likely show us what a Premier League striker looks like. Maybe not beating half a dozen players and scoring Messi level goals… but taking chances when they come his way and being more of a presence all round, doing the things a better quality forward does naturally.
Newcastle were crying out in the summer for more creativity and goals to help cope with the step up to the Premier League, instead the best we got was the future potential of Jacob Murphy.
If only Rafa Benitez had been backed with a couple of better quality players who could score and create – Slimani and Kenedy, or whoever. Then surely that would have equalled a decent number of extra points that have gone begging because of the missing quality, as we saw against Burnley.
Hopefully it is not a case of too little too late and Newcastle can be lining up again in the Premier League in August. It would be great to think that would be also with the club under new ownership but we will believe that when we see it.
Though at the very least it has to be a case of Mike Ashley understanding that the right tools and backing have to be made available in the summer, rather than taking gambling with the club’s future to such an extreme level.