Even though we have the distraction of Forest in the League Cup as well, this week will no doubt be dominated by the subject of Rafa Benitez and tactics/formation.
The Newcastle boss seeing his game plan against Chelsea ridiculed by some of the usual suspects after playing a very defensive formation.
In advance of Saturday’s trip to Manchester City that discussion will undoubtedly flare up and intensify once again.
It is very difficult to see the Newcastle manager veering away from what he did on Sunday and of course last season when the Magpies visited the Etihad.
Some Newcastle supporters didn’t agree with Rafa’s tactics either and in many cases have been shouted down by other fans for a supposed lack of loyalty to the manager’s cause.
However, there is a massive difference between ridiculing what Rafa Benitez did against Chelsea, as compared to simply saying that you would rather Newcastle had shown more ambition against Sarri’s team.
Amazingly, you can still think Rafa Benitez is by far the best manager Newcastle could have at this present time BUT also think he should have done things differently.
Some Newcastle fans then say ‘so you think you know better than Rafa’ but that isn’t the point, surely the basics of being a football fan is the whole discussion around team selection, tactics and so on.
An opinion is exactly that, not right or wrong, just an opinion.
Personally, I would 100% have preferred a different approach for that Chelsea match, though I totally understand why he did it.
It almost helped pull off a great result as well, that final 15 minutes seeing an excellent Joselu goal outdone by a dubious penalty and a cruel own goal.
However, as a fan, you can have different priorities to the manager.
Rafa Benitez is, quite rightly, 100% focused on getting the best result possible.
I went along to watch a decent match with the hope Newcastle would get something.
The way I see it, the way Rafa set things up on Sunday gave us maybe a 35% chance of getting a draw, or better.
If the manager had gone with a more attacking formation/tactics, I think that chance of a point or better might have dropped to 20% or 25%.
I want to see us at least having a go, when I turn up at St James Park I of course get a lot of satisfaction if we get result, but I go to watch a game of football as well. Seeing our better players express themselves.
I also think that there is a big negative in Rafa’s approach, as in playing so defensively meant that there was nothing for the fans to get behind. That spark you can get whereby the team and supporters feed off each other and can often help to produce a better result than expected.
We had none of that until going behind and then that late charge to try and get an equaliser.
On Saturday I think Man City away is a big one-off, they are by far the best team and very difficult to see Rafa Benitez able to do much more than sit back.
At home though I think it is a different matter and if Rafa had played say Muto in support of Rondon we could have had some joy.