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Garth Crooks asks after latest shambles ‘Is Newcastle United really the place for Rafa Benitez?’

1 year ago
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Garth Crooks has named his Premier League team of the weekend.

The BBC Sport pundit selecting two Chelsea players and former Newcastle striker, Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Crooks says he wouldn’t have given £22 for Mitro after his Premier League debut for Fulham but after three goals in his next two games, the former Spurs striker says: ‘What a fantastic purchase Aleksandar Mitrovic is proving to be for Fulham.’

Newcastle United sold Mitrovic for £22m and that figure could rise to £27m, yet Rafa Benitez was forced to rely on loan signing Rondon as his best hope of goals this season.

Garth Crook summing it up: ‘As for Rafael Benitez and Newcastle – the limited resources at the Spaniard’s disposal at St James’ Park raise the question: is this really the place for him?’

The lack of quality and strength in depth was totally exposed on Sunday, with Newcastle fans now wondering if Rafa Benitez can conjure up another minor miracle.

Garth Crooks:

Marcos Alonso:

“When Marcos Alonso takes to the field he almost always affects the game. If he’s not scoring goals then he’s making them.

“Against Newcastle this very elegant player did both. This is the second consecutive week Alonso has starred for Chelsea in a run of games that has seen the Blues unbeaten with maximum points.

“As for Rafael Benitez and Newcastle – the limited resources at the Spaniard’s disposal at St James’ Park raise the question: is this really the place for him?”

Eden Hazard:

“The penalty given by referee Paul Tierney was debatable but there is nothing debatable about the man who took the spot-kick, or his performance. Eden Hazard strolled through this game and was head and shoulders above everybody else on the pitch.

“The Belgium international seems to have been given the freedom to do whatever he likes under Maurizio Sarri. Not so under Mourinho or Conte. Both Sarri’s predecessors had volatile temperaments and fragile relationships with Hazard.

“For all of football’s rhetoric about sports science, fitness and the tactics of the modern game, there’s one thing that will never change. Managers need to take care of their best players or their best players will eventually desert them.

“Did you know? Eden Hazard has now scored seven Premier League goals against Newcastle – he has not scored more against any other team (also has seven v West Brom).”

Aleksandar Mitrovic:

“What a fantastic purchase Aleksandar Mitrovic is proving to be for Fulham. The Serbian international left Newcastle with his tail between his legs and a big question mark about his ability to cope in the Premier league.

“I must say, I saw Mitrovic play at the Cottage in the opening game of the season against Crystal Palace and I wouldn’t have paid £22 for him never mind £22m.

“But since his arrival in London from St James’ Park he has not stopped scoring and may be the catalyst to Fulham’s survival in the Premier League. I still have my doubts about his ability to star in the top flight, but what a start!”

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