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Rafa Benitez confirms two Newcastle stars are now available for Arsenal – Press conference

3 years ago

Rafa Benitez says he knows Unat Emery well and believes he can prove a success at Arsenal.

The two Spanish managers facing each other for the first time in the Premier League.

Facing the media on Friday afternoon, Rafa Benitez says that you can have all your tactics right, but it can come down to an individual proving the difference.

Both Matt Ritchie and Jonjo Shelvey were missing before the international break but the manager revealed they are both back in the squad tomorrow.

Matt Ritchie scored the winner against Arsenal back in April, whilst it is obvious that Newcastle carry far more threat when Shelvey is in the team.

Without these kind of individuals it becomes so much harder for Newcastle to win any match.

A lot of selection dilemmas, including the likes of Yedlin and Rondon who were the final two playing  midweek before long journeys home.

This is a game that very much could go either way, Newcastle needing to get back to the defensive levels of last season AND they need to start finding those vital individuals who can prove to be match winners.

Rafa Benitez speaking at his pre-Arsenal press conference:

“Shelvey and Ritchie are training.

“There are no big issues and everyone (who we expected to be) was training.

“We have to decide now who can play but both Ritchie and Shelvey are in the squad.

“With the fans pushing and supporting, we have a chance (against Arsenal) – for sure.

“Sometimes you can have all of the tactics right and one player can make the difference.

“Hopefully, that player will be our player and we’ll be talking about three points for us

Arsenal will try to keep the ball and pass the ball quick.

“They have players with ability – one v one, they can make the difference.

“They can play a counter-attacking game, and a possession game, because they have enough quality.”

(on) Unai Emery: “He likes to have his team organised.

“The way they were playing was very similar to when I was at Valencia and Liverpool – organised, pressing, passing the ball. 

“I have known him for a long, long time. He enjoys his job and I think he will do well.”


“I think confidence (at Newcastle) is high in terms of mentality, team spirit and the way we work.

“We know that we have to win and with every game we are closer.

“We are playing against a very good team but we have to approach it with the belief that we can do what we did last year.”

(On skipper Jamaal Lascelles, who became a father this week):

“He was not sleeping at the beginning but the last two days it has settled down.

“I was sharing my experience of when my daughter was born – I had the bottle all the time! He is fine now.”

Rafa Benitez speaking to BBC Newcastle:

“They (Rondon and Yedlin) trained this morning for the first time (since returning from international duty).

“They are fine but, always after these trips, you have to be careful.”

(Rafa on Rondon scoring twice for Venezuela this week):

“I was joking with him because they were two easy goals! I think it’s important for strikers to score goals for their confidence. He did well.”


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