In this instance, the pair in question are Salomon Rondon and Yoshinori Muto.

We don’t need to regurgitate all the reasons, but Rafa Benitez ended up not having his new striking options available for any part of pre-season, due to Mike Ashley insistence on making signjng targets as difficult as possible.

The net result being that Newcastle have started their opening two Premier League matches with the more familiar Ayoze Perez and Joselu up front.

Rondon got the final 31 minutes against Spurs, whilst Muto has had 34 minutes in total – nine in the Tottenham game and 25 minutes at Cardiff.

Obviously 65 minutes isn’t a lot to go on so far but fair to say that all eyes are on these two players.

If you have a reasonably functional team, then a dynamic front pair can transform that into a positive situation.

Always hard to judge when playing one of the better clubs such as Spurs, but when you are up against the relegation favourites, you can make some kind of judgement on the likes of Joselu and Perez.

Last season Newcastle struggled for goals and this time it looks as though that is guaranteed once again, unless Muto and Rondon can make the difference.

Against Cardiff, Newcastle had next to no threat up front, Cardiff’s defence were hardly troubled. The Welsh side looked incredibly average and with Newcastle having picked up most of their points last season from fellow strugglers, it doesn’t bode well.

When we asked Newcastle fans pre-Cardiff who they would have in their team, the results showed 94% selecting Rondon in their team and only 9% Joselu.

That doesn’t mean Rafa was wrong with his team selection and fans were necessarily proved correct BUT for supporters to overwhelmingly give that reaction even though Joselu scored in the previous match, it does tell you how little faith there is in the goalscoring options of last season.

In that Cardiff match Newcastle looked incredibly poor, taking into account the opposition. The score wasn’t a complete disaster but the massive worry is that at no stage of the game were Rafa’s team in control. The home side dominated for spells whilst the rest of the game was largely made up of aimless hoofs up the pitch, from both sides.

Without quality up front it makes it so difficult (impossible?) for the rest of the team and very likely this was a key factor at Cardiff.

Both players have shown varying degrees of promise in their brief sub appearances and indeed Muto looked to have won the game on Saturday when winning that last gasp penalty.

The only question now is how quickly Rafa Benitez presses the button, judges the time is right to play both Rondon and Muto, even though he is likely to stagger it initially, starting with one and then eventually pairing the two of the new signings.

Only at that point will we get a firmer idea of what lies ahead this season and whether Rafa has worked some transfer magic on such a desperately low/non-existent budget.

With Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal up next, no decision looks easy for the Newcastle manager.

When people dismiss concerns about not landing transfer targets early in a window, maybe now they will appreciate just how crucial it can prove to be.



  • Kenny

    Dynamic duo, oh that’s a new one
    The last dynamic duo was Cabaye & Ba. seems like a long time ago.

    • Peaky

      Howay Kenny….what about Monk & Baby Ben…..the most dynamic of all duos….ever.

      • Kenny

        Wankas, Ben d over for the Fat rat

  • Peaky

    Dodgy photo that…..bit too sepia for my liking….

    • Lord

      All that green, looks like they were in The Matrix. Perhaps we’ll all wake up one day and realise Ashley was just a figment of our imagination.

      • Peaky

        Rafa looks as though he works for The National Trust with that ‘green’ fleece on….

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Hardly any threat up front. Perez had two one on ones with the keeper who saved the second one and knew nothing about it very unlucky. We deserved four points from the first two games at least. All doom and gloom on here as usual.

    • Reggae86

      How did we deserve four points? I’m not hitting the panic button yet , but I can be frank and realistic about my own team. You sound like a biased, blinkered five year old who won’t hear a bad word said. We didn’t get the points because we didn’t earn them. That’s how it works, unless you’re robbed by some major travesty or act of God. If you truly think we deserved the win against Cardiff, you need a good shake. We were even gifted the chance, but Kenedy lacked the composure and took a poor pen. Does it make me less of a fan because I don’t live in denial?

  • paco

    They can only make a difference when Benitez decides- in his own time…- to play them

  • Leazes.

    I didn’t vote….what is he like, how does his goal scoring feats in the premiership compare with every other clubs striker?

  • Philippines

    Of course, we can’t see these folks in training as Rafa can. On the other hand, Bobby Robson used to ‘rave’ about Bramble and Ameobi in training. Just for a change, I will adopt a ‘wait and see’ policy.

  • Sickandtired

    Well howay., Rafa could do worse than actually shaking things up and stop clinging to the 4-2-3-1 malarkey.
    Sick to death of seeing Shelvey collecting the ball on the edge of our box, while Diame is again ineffective, meaning we have no midfield.
    Trying to change a game has to mean more, surely, than just swapping one player for another in the same position (Perez for Muto as example).

  • Scott Robinson

    I’ll answer ‘yes’ as replacements to what we have in the team at present i.e. they might nearly score double figures between them, and no to NUFC long term. Neither would get in any other premiership team except Cardiff. WBA fans now spot the difference with a better, quicker, sharper replacement, who erm happens to be Gayle

  • 1957

    We should maybe be including Ki in this discussion given SloMo has reverted to the performance levels of his first 18 months with us so far this season.

    • Superdooperhooper

      Let’s hope diame and kenedy aren’t just half season wonders otherwise we’re in big trouble

      • Down Under Mag

        Ashley wouldn’t care, I think he would be happy to have half a season for cheaper players and scrape safety…

        • Superdooperhooper

          What’s going on with your profile picture? Seriously I haven’t got a clue what’s going on there dude

  • Andy Mac

    Can anybody. who gives a fk. research the PL and find any other club/s that has a loan player and a £9m Japanese import as their senior strike force ?

  • Rafalution 14

    Muto will be a really good player for newcastln.he tracks back and has good energy upfront.

    Looks like Rafa has his Dries Mertens now.