Saturday finished Newcastle 3 Chelsea 0.
Rafa’s team dominated this match from start to finish.
The visitors never really got going, whilst the home side never really stopped.
It wasn’t just effort but some great football as well, a brilliant way to end the season.
The Editor asked me beforehand to write about 3 positives and 3 negatives from the game.
Ending the 4 game losing streak
Obviously it is always a positive if you win a game of football, but to finish the season with a win against last seasons champions, rather than on what would have been a five game losing streak, is massive. What we have learnt from this team, and especially a few of the players (Shelvey, Diame, Perez), is that confidence is key.
On a separate note, both Perez and Shelvey received the accolades on Sky after the game (rightly so because they both were brilliant) but Lejeune and Diame were head and shoulders the best two players on the pitch for me.
Had anyone told me at the start of the season that we would finish 10th and beat Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United along the way at SJP, then I honestly don’t think any realistic fan could have asked for much more.
Great to finish the season on a high.
A goal for Gayle
It might have been a tap-in from one yard out but a goal is a goal.
I actually think that will be his last goal for Newcastle. Everyone knows Rafa is after a new striker, and if there are any Championship clubs out there looking for a striker to push them to promotion next season, then they could do a lot worse than Dwight Gayle for £10-£12 million. He hasn’t been good this season, but lets not forget that his goals were critical in bringing us up from the Championship, should always be welcomed back on Tyneside if he does go.
Likewise, Ayoze Perez was brilliant again yesterday. A player in his position would still be one of my top priorities this summer though.
I wrote around Christmas time that I didn’t rate Perez at all. Since then, he has done well and scored massive goals, and provided some key assists. Has he been one of our best players since Christmas? Yes. Do I now think he is a world beater? No, not really. Lets not get too ahead of ourselves. If the likes of Perez, Ritchie, Gayle, Diame, Shelvey is where fans are setting the standard, then I would worry a lot for next season.
Those guys should be the absolute minimum standard of player in our squad. Any players being brought in this summer that are even the slightest below the standard of the aforementioned players, shouldn’t be signed at all.
The support from the fans has been brilliant all season. There isn’t another group of supporters I have come across in this country that seem to get louder and louder the more they get kicked.
Also, well done to the guys behind the flags, the Gallowgate corner, and block V. I think they have been instrumental in keeping everyone going at times. Without those, I fear many of the boo boys would have taken over at several points of the season.
I didn’t hear the Chelsea fans at all from the Gallowgate. They will probably complain that their team didn’t try, which is true, but really, do Chelsea fans try anyway? One of the few groups of supporters that I get some pleasure out of seeing do badly.
Best of luck to Kenedy going back to Stamford Bridge next season… I am sure he will never receive half of the adulation there than he would at SJP.
Mike Ashley made it a whole season without attending one game at SJP since Spurs on opening day
Ah, the pantomime villain. Who on earth wrote that? Keith Bishop is the most likely culprit, but dare I say it, I find it hard to believe that Keith Bishop would be daft enough to come out with rubbish like that. Either way, there is obviously no way that Mike Ashley wrote that statement, suggested it, or even saw it with his own eyes.
The statement was nothing other than an act of PR. I think you would be naïve to hope that that Ashley or Charnley will change their behaviour this summer. One thing is for sure, is that Mike Ashley could not care less about Newcastle United finishing in a European place or winning a trophy.
For me, this publicity stunt wasn’t something that was written before the game. My money would be on Keith Bishop taking in the game, seeing us win 3-0, seeing the fans get behind the team, seeing Benitez take in the adulation from the fans after the game and saying to himself “I’ll be having none of that – we’re in charge – don’t get too excited.”
For 45 minutes after the final whistle, Rafa was again untouchable, in a fantastic position to demand what he wants with the backing of the fans… that statement goes a long way to telling Rafa who is really in charge here (That is Keith Bishop and Justin Barnes most likely).
Did Chelsea make us look good?
Most of those Chelsea players have a cup final next week and a World Cup this summer. Given what we have seen in recent weeks with the likes of Neymar, Dani Alves and Oxlade Chamberlain getting injured and probably missing the World Cup, it wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of those Chelsea players weren’t putting it in to avoid injury.
Chelsea are a big team with a lot of good players, but I would suggest to most fans, not to let the result go to their heads. This was a Chelsea team playing for nothing (remember they probably came out for the second half knowing the Liverpool game was wrapped up), and although you can only play what is in front of you, I would urge on the side of caution in terms of getting too excited based on this result.
The lack of depth is still alarming
Rafa constantly making comments over the past few weeks about the need to make changes towards the end of the season. However, Jacob Murphy is the only player who has been given a chance in recent weeks. On the other hand, the likes of Joselu, Haidara, Manquillo show that Rafa really doesn’t have much to play with.
Obviously we need a striker this summer but I would argue we need two! Let’s be honest, if we do sign a decent striker, and he gets injured, then we are still screwed!
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 3 Chelsea 0
Newcastle: Gayle 23, Perez 59, 63
Possession was Chelsea 58% Newcastle 42%
Total shots were Chelsea 6 Newcastle 16
Shots on target were Chelsea 2 Newcastle 6
Corners were Chelsea 2 Newcastle 4
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie (Hayden 72), Shelvey, Diame (Haidara 87), Murphy, Perez, Gayle (Joselu 48)
Darlow, Manquillo, Gamez, Merino
Crowd: 52,294 (3,000 Chelsea)
(Read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the victory HERE)
(Kenedy post emotional farewell message to Newcastle United – Read it HERE)
(Breaking News: Mike Ashley releases statement asking Rafa Benitez to stay at Newcastle United – Read it HERE)
(Alan Shearer reacts to Ashley’s statement – Read it HERE)
(Rafa Benitez reaction to the win over Chelsea – Read it HERE)
(Antonio Conte not happy after humbling by NUFC – Read it HERE)
(Amusing comments from Chelsea fans after this hammering – Read it HERE)
You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn