Once the first game of the season has been played, always amazing how it feels like Newcastle United have never been away from your thoughts…
It is now 24 hours beyond the game at St James Park and the reality is there to be seen, can Rafa overcome the odds…again?
An opening day loss to Tottenham, not a disaster but a game which probably raises far more questions than it gives answers.
For those sitting at home waiting to watch on TV, there was a bit of a surreal experience.
Pre-match, thousands of Newcastle fans gathered outside the Sports Direct store on Northumberland Street to protest against Mike Ashley’s treatment of the club he bought 11 years ago.
Whilst at the very same time, Shola Ameobi was full of praise and ‘credit to Mike Ashley’ for his running of Newcastle United. Quite astonishing, does he not read anything but Ashley-approved media?
As for the actual football, failure to be backed with new signings when he wanted them early in the transfer window, meant that Rafa Benitez couldn’t name a single new face in his starting eleven.
A gutsy second half display saw Kenedy waste a one on one and the Spurs woodwork struck twice, so maybe a deserved point went astray. However, with Tottenham having nine players who returned only on Monday to training, it was probably a point that shouldn’t have got away.
Once again we are reminded of these small margins that exist at Premier League level, Newcastle relied on beating the other lower teams last season but surely a more even spread of points will be needed this time.
Newcastle relied so much on their back four last season as the rock to build safety on, with two of them now on the injured list (Lejeune and Yedlin) fans are already wondering/worried about the ‘strength’ of the squad.
Cardiff City are seen by many as having the weakest squad in the top tier and this could be arguably the biggest match of the season, already!
With Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal following that match, failing to get something on the day out in Wales could leave us looking at a grim position come mid-September.
This Tottenham game had a bit of everything but there is a feeling that Newcastle will need all of that everything going their way if they are to have a relatively comfortable season. Luck, ability, momentum and new signings hitting the ground running – can Rafa Benitez overachieve once again?