Newcastle United had Salomon Rondon, Kenedy and Jonjo Shelvey all back in the team at Selhurst Park.

When the side was announced an hour before kick-off, the overwhelming reaction from Newcastle fans was that, at least on paper, this was the best NUFC team.

Florian Lejeune long-term injured of course, whilst the only possible exception from those fit, is that a lot of supporters want to see Yoshinori Muto given a chance.

Salomon Rondon came on as a sub against Spurs and did ok, including almost grabbing Newcastle a point when hitting the bar.

He also came on as a late sub and scored a very good goal against Forest in the League Cup.

The two starts Rondon previously had, were against Chelsea and Man City. Pretty thankless jobs as he had a lone role in a very defensive set-up both times, yet did well holding the ball up, as well as contributing an excellent assist for Yedlin’s goal at the Etihad.

You have to also take in the fact the striker had a rubbish (unnecessarily so) pre-season, as Newcastle took forever to do the loan swap deal with West Brom. No proper pre-season with the Baggies and no pre-season at all with Newcastle.

Last weekend Newcastle fans were all but unanimous in that Rafa should have started against Arsenal despite only getting back to training 24 hours earlier, having played in Panama for Venezuela.

This weekend, many/most Newcastle fans seem to think Salomon Rondon should never have bothered coming back from Panama…

That may be a little harsh but I think it does sum up how the frustrations of the supporters are now reaching down to the players, instead of being exclusively about Mike Ashley.

Which is fair enough up to a point, as the players are very well paid (as compared to your typical fan) and should expect to be under the microscope after every match.

However, for some it has gone way over the top with Rondon after Palace.

Yes he was very poor in the 45 minutes he had yesterday but in truth, where was the service and support?

Often the ball was hit long and he won the headers but when you have no pace around him (Perez!), or any runners from midfield, what’s the point?

As for service into feet, this was rare, and actually when it did happen the loan striker did help in a couple of decent attacking moves.

A bit like last season though, the delivery into the box is almost non-existent, neither Kenedy or Ritchie get to the line and cross/cut it back.

Amusingly (for me), even when Rafa said at half-time that Salomon Rondon had to come off because ‘He was feeling a bit of tightness in his quad, so we needed to take him out’, some critics even claimed that the striker had bottled it chose to come off for no good reason.

So we got Joselu…and ironically, early in the second half Newcastle actually got a few decent crosses in. An excellent Shelvey free-kick was begging to be put in but instead Joselu threw himself to the ground claiming a penalty, whilst on another occasion he tried a semi-overhead kick that went straight to the keeper. These were at least two more chances than had been created for Rondon.

This is the problem though, we haven’t got any great options.

We know Joselu and Perez aren’t good enough, so the answer this season has to be Salomon Rondon and Yoshinori Muto or surely we are going down…?

Unlike idiotic weak managers in the past, Rafa won’t give in to the mob and just throw in players from overseas who aren’t ready. Countless overseas signings in the past have seen their Newcastle careers over before they start, written off after being thrown in unprepared.

Ayoze Perez has been worse than useless this season and I understand fans wondering when we will see Yoshinori Muto – but every credit to Benitez.

He must think Muto has something. A reserve striker for Japan and a half-decent record in the Bundesliga don’t suggest he is a superstar – but he has got something.

However, he needs to be given every chance to start in the best possible way and in the current poisonous atmosphere which is purely down to Mike Ashley and is permeating down, there is every chance that the likes of Yoshinori Muto would be an instant casualty. His confidence wrecked before he’d managed is first 90 minutes in the Premier League.

I thought maybe yesterday Rafa would have given the Japanese international that chance, an away game a far better bet than the expectation of fifty thousand home fans.

So maybe Leicester it will be.

If Muto does start against Leicester on Saturday, he has to be backed beyond that game, no matter how that day/match turns out.

A bit like Kenedy we have to persevere with him, as at the moment there are no credible alternatives.

This season is going to be incredibly tough on and off the pitch, only by sticking with Rafa and his players can there be any chance of any positive outcome for the Newcastle fans.

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  • Toontaff

    Surely Rondon had a pre-season at WBA, same as Gayle did with us? Maybe, he just isn’t very good?

    • BigHairyDog

      No, he didn’t hardly play because they always intended for him to leave.

  • Paul Patterson

    I don’t get the automatic Joselu bashing. Yes, he’s poor, but he is our top scorer and did quite well when he came on yesterday.
    When playing one up front, chances will be a premium. Sides that set up like that aren’t going to run away with games three or four nil.
    I’d prefer to look at the lack of creativity from the midfield. Kenedy and Ritchie just aren’t producing it at the minute and Diame is poor again.
    A lot rides on Shelvey . .

    • Leazes.

      Think people are disappointed with Mitrovic’s downgraded replacement when everyone including the manager were expecting an upgrade…..

      • Clark

        Rondon was the manager’s first choice…

        • Leazes.

          Hadawayanshite

          • Clark

            First choice, the top two picks were Rondon and Plea, Plea went to Borussia Mönchengladbach and Benitez pushed for Rondon despite pushback from Ashley/Barnes, he got his man.

          • Leazes.

            No…. these are players imposed on a manager winding down his contract….loans, freebies.

            ps you are now blocked.

          • Clark

            The truth hurts.

          • Wor Lass

            You forgot the “O” at the end. And I`m not meaning “hurtso”!

          • Billmag

            CKO = Cuckoo.

          • SuperDesHamilton

            So does ya ma

          • magpie 1969

            The R sole is back

          • Wor Lass

            That`s a firm of solicitors in North Shields.

        • Billmag

          If he was the manager’s first choice how come it took forever to sign him on loan.

          • Clark

            Because Ashley/Barnes didn’t like the signing which is why they didn’t meet the release clause. Did you not follow the news at the time?

          • Billmag

            And you are in conversation with Ashley/ Barnes, you believe everything that’s reported so get lost with your North West sarcasm.

          • Clark

            I believe what’s credible.

          • Billmag

            Typically what you want to believe.

          • Clark

            No, that would describe you, that would describe what you’re doing right now, all the evidence suggests/states that Rondon and Plea were his top two picks and you’re just ignoring all that information because that would make your hero Benitez look bad.

            👋🏼

          • BanJones

            You “What is the mean velocity of a migrating swallow?”
            Me “Which African or European?”
            You ” Aaaaargghhh!”

          • Billmag

            What’s bad about wanting Plea a £20ml + buy, and because YOUR hero wouldn’t stump up the money Rafa ends up with a loan player big difference isn’t it Dumbo.

          • Clarko

            No, Benitez ended up with his first choice on loan, stop ignoring the facts.

          • Billmag

            Wrong in your assumption yet again, Plea was his first choice that’s a fact, you need to stop straying from the obvious he asked for a £20ml + player and ended up with Joselu(£5ml) and Rondon(loan) now if you think they were his first choice then you are living in cloud CUCKOO land.

          • Clarko

            ‘Rondon and Plea were his top two picks’

          • Billmag

            Plea then scraps to pick from (Rondon)

          • Clarko

            ‘As part of the deal to secure Rafa Benítez’s number one transfer target’ – NUFC Official site

            ‘Salomon Rondon remains Rafa Benitez’s No 1 summer target – despite renewed links with Nicolai Jorgensen and Alassane Plea’ – Shields Gazette

            ‘Rondon was Rafa Benitez’s first choice striker this summer’ – Independent

          • BigHairyDog

            Callum Wilson was his 1st choice!!!

          • Clarko

            ‘As part of the deal to secure Rafa Benítez’s number one transfer target’ – NUFC Official site

            ‘Salomon Rondon remains Rafa Benitez’s No 1 summer target – despite renewed links with Nicolai Jorgensen and Alassane Plea’ – Shields Gazette

            ‘Rondon was Rafa Benitez’s first choice striker this summer’ – Independent

        • Ashley-out

          i doubt that very much

          • Clark

            Why?

        • SuperDesHamilton

          Rondon isn’t even first choice in his own house man

        • BigHairyDog

          Rondon was Rafa’s back up choice in the likely event his first choices would be blocked, NEVER his first choice!!! Rafa’s first choices included Callum Wilson from Bournemouth. Next you’ll be telling us Ki was Rafa’s first choice to replace Merino, he had James Maddison all set to conduct talks but couldn’t get a reply from Ashley to make an official approach and Charnley wouldn’t give the go ahead without his boss’ say so.

          • Clarko

            I’ve already quoted numerous sources that state Rondon was his first choice. This was extremely well covered in the summer, it was Rondon and Plea.

          • BigHairyDog

            You can quote HP and Heinz and they are pretty good sauces too. The fact that you fail to grasp that with Rafa’s top two or three targets, he wanted to keep as quiet as possible because he knew he’d lose out in a bidding war. Rafa played his cards very close to his chest, very few people knew about Wilson and Maddison and most of them only knew after the chance to sign them had gone. Funny how EVERYONE and their dog knew we were interested in Rondon though…

          • Clarko

            Where’s your evidence?

    • Ashley-out

      not poor, totally useless

      • Paul Patterson

        Current top scorer . .

    • Phil Yare

      top scorer with……….2 goals. your making des hamilton sound like george weah

  • Leazes.

    United is a club being run from London by remote control, with players imposed on a manager….. Muto and Ki, Fernandez and Schar….. come on!

    I wonder why the controllers were there yesterday just before the infrequent fans forum meeting….

    …..look on your works ye mighty and despair!

    Don’t let them pull the wool over your eyes or sidetrack you…. call for the sale of the club….enough!

    #ASHLEYOUT

    • Phil Yare

      them 3 who sat with ashley are just sycophantic whores. a show of strength from scum

  • Billmag

    Said it for a while now if we had Shearer in this side he would struggle to score goals, so before the Mitro brigade come on here just think how many chances do we create for the strikers, is Joselu or Rondon missing any sitters, until we get more chances created for our strikers it makes very little difference who’s on the front line.

    • Paul Patterson

      Stick Aguero in this side and he would look a bang average player. Stick Joselu in Man City’s team and he’d look the odd one out, but he’d score a few.

      Fine margins . .

      • Billmag

        Correct.

      • Phil Yare

        i think you’d find his touch would be better, he wouldn’t give the ball away as much, he’d make better runs

  • Ba ba.

    I’m bored

  • Ashley-out

    cannot understand buying players for 9 or 10 million then not playing them

    • Leazes.

      Maybe because he only picks the team and Charmley, Barnes and Wise buy the players.

    • Billmag

      He train’s with them every day I think he knows more than any of us.

      • Phil Yare

        yes but the point remains.

        • Leazes.

          Think the point is they are sub £10m players…… that doesn’t get you an Amiobi brother or a Xisco these days.

          • Phil Yare

            yes but why buy him?

          • Leazes.

            Ask Charnley…. he’s the one playing football manager….did you read that bit about Keegan having players imposed by Jiminez…. that’s is what they’ve done behind the scenes for ten years!

          • Phil Yare

            it has to be that mate. we know benitez wouldn’t have made these signings for liverpool, madrid or chelsea

          • Down Under Mag

            He wouldn’t have been rummaging around the bargain bin at those clubs though…he would have been given funds to buy players he knew would fit the style he wanted to play rather than seemingly be forced to either play players not suited or change his tactics….it’s like he is being set up to take a fall or something…

          • Jezza

            Benitez didn’t make those signings for Newcastle either.

          • Phil Yare

            definitely not mate.

          • Phil Yare

            really mate weve only had 2 managers in the last 12 years – lambeezey and penfold!

          • Leazes.

            I have a feeling Dennis Frank Wise never totally disappeared from Ashley’s circle…. someone must be advising them…. they can’t just fancy themselves as experts….surely not.

          • Phil Yare

            £13.5m gets you Shaqiri.

          • Leazes.

            £20m to £30m gets you a 10 to 12 goal striker

          • Phil Yare

            obviously the transfer market is nuts, and especially harder working under ashley and his team of creeps

          • Phil Yare

            afterall one of the former creeps thought modric wasn’t worth a penny of 11m!

          • Leazes.

            Jiminez said to Keegan (5′ 6″) that Modric was too small.

          • Peaky

            Oh the irony with midget dwarfy Wise by his side…

          • Phil Yare

            the very sound of his name makes me angry

          • Phil Yare

            quite ironic when you think of what keegan achieved in his playing career despite his height.

          • Leazes.

            Hasn’t stopped Fulham, Palace, Brighton and Huddersfield paying the going rate to compete…. using Sky money to do so!

          • Pezza

            Like who?

          • SuperDesHamilton

            That was a relegation clause

  • Damon Horner

    I’m sure the Sports Science will be telling Rafa where Rondon and Muto are fitness/physicality wise and he’ll know where they need to be. Just got to be patient and trust in the manager for now. Still early days.

    • Phil Yare

      we shouldn’t be buying players that are unfit. especially 10m for someone who is unfit.

      • Damon Horner

        For 10m you aren’t going to buy PL ready players upfront who didn’t have a preseason to start preparation early though.

        • Phil Yare

          the bundesliga runs the same as the PL. muto went to the world cup. he hasnt been on the moon for 6 months

          • Damon Horner

            Your call mate on how to view it. It could be Rafa having a higher standard than his previous manager? Could be communication if he doesn’t know a mutual language to other players. Who knows…

            I’m just saying I’m going to wait, we aren’t desperate yet.

          • mentalman

            Why would we buy players who can’t speak the language when we are selling players for that exact reason

          • Damon Horner

            Not sure mate. I’m not buying them. Maybe it’s about the application to learn it as opposed to actually knowing it? I’m just speculating.

      • Leazes.

        We shouldn’t be buying £10m players.

        • Jezza

          Spot on. That’s what average Championship clubs without our £123 million television money are paying for players these days.

  • Arty Hume

    Just my thoughts,leave Perez out and play Rondon with Hoss and rely on crosses from the supply line with Hoss playing a bit deeper.

    • mentalman

      We don’t have anyone to put crosses in

  • Laurus Nobilis

    If Rafa keeps seting Newcastle up in the same way West Brom set up with Rondon, then he will only get you 6-10 goals in the season. He needs more teammates around him.

    • Paul Patterson

      I would argue that 10 goals would be just about enough . .

    • Nart

      Unfortunately, the rules stipulate that a team cannot field more than 11 players on the pitch at any given time…

  • Leicester Mag

    You could wrap any of our forwards up in anything you like, allow them 24 hour pampering by vestel vigins and they’d still not be good enough. By cheap get sheight

  • mentalman

    Why protect muto against palace to then put him up against much better defenders in the Leicester game

    As for Rondon having a poor pre season, he had a better one than ings and look how he is doing

    • Viru leckworth

      Injured.

  • Mike

    comes down to a basic rule you pay for quality. If not its all down to hope things work or else its failure

  • Jezza

    Never in a million years did Rafa want either Rondon or Muto at Newcastle. He wanted much better strikers.

  • Salty

    How long does he need to protect Muto? Other teams play their new signings straight away including the newly promoted sides where all of their players are new to the Prem. we’ve seen for last 4 years that spheres offers little of no creativity but Rafa persists/ he made 16 passes in 90 mins last week. FFS man Beardsley would have done that’s in 20 mins in his day.

    • Leazes.

      Protecting him!……Probably didn’t want him in the first place!

      Get it out of your mind that these are Benitez players…. Rafa doesn’t have a history of buying job lots of substandard players!

      The Chronicle have put into peoples minds that these are Rafa buys when the club hasn’t let any manager shape the squad in 11 years!

      Ryder has a lot to answer for…..and he knows very well that every ‘manager’ since Allardyce has been a ‘head coach’ with no say in matters!

      Yet they big them up like Pardew…. time after time!

      ‘Truth’ about this regime is in very short supply especially from Douglas and Ryder!

      • Salty

        He has signed some good players like Lejeune, dubravka and others but he’s also made some poor signings, you can’t have it both ways. He’s a world class manager on £6m pa. but too cautious which is producing the most boring football for years. Fat Sam was run out of town for the same and wasn’t given the same leeway

  • Andy Mac

    This is the old chicken and egg conundrum. Does Rafa actually want these players or does he have to have them because NUFC only shop in the bargain basement ?

    The obvious answer is that he’d rather have a Ronaldo than a Rondon but were there better options around for the money spent ? Murphy at £12m looks like a wrong ‘un especially compared to brother Josh. Muto doesnt look the part, from the little we’ve seen ?

    Yet for their combined fee we could have brought in young Maddison from Norwich who has the same number of goals to his name than we’ve managed as a team. Arguably the exact type of player we’ve needed for a long time ? However as we all know Fatman doesnt do £20m purchases despite the fact this is almost the entry level figure for a decent player nowadays.

    • Angelswithdirtyfaces

      I’ve a Canaries supporting friend who reckons our Murphy is way better than his bro, so maybe he needs a run in the side to hit form.

      • Philippines

        Watching them the other week I would have said the other way around.

  • Big Al 1967

    Just got back from the States and watched a couple of games while there.Interestingly although they did not show our game against Arsenal they did show the protests outside the ground in the highlights package. The word about Ashley is being heard 4500 miles away.
    However the main game they were covering was Citeh against Fulham and Keith Andrews was the co-commentator and he made this comment when discussing transfer fees. ’30 million does not get you much these days’ Think about this in relation to the 9.5 million we paid for Muto. We are not shopping at Waitrose or Sainsburys, we are not even going to Aldi or Lidl, we are looking in the bins behind them to see what we can pick up. And we know who is responsible for that
    ASHLEY OUT