Garth Crooks salutes Newcastle player AND Rafa Benitez for ‘leaner and meaner’ look
Garth Crooks has been picking his Premier League team of the week.
As well as the usual selection from the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool, Newcastle United are represented this time as well.
No surprise that it is Salomon Rondon who Garth Crooks picks out, the striker’s two goals beating Bournemouth on Saturday.
In his fourth Premier League season, Crooks points out that this is only the second time Rondon has scored more than once in a Premier League match, the only other time a hat-trick against Swansea for West Brom two years ago.
The BBC Sport pundit thought the loan striker should have got another hat-trick when Begovic saved late on when one on one but that was the only negative Garth Crooks could see with the forward’s performance.
He thinks this was ‘A much leaner and meaner Rondon’ and credits Rafa Benitez for putting him through a ‘serious fitness programme’ since coming to Newcastle.
Certainly, whilst the number nine didn’t convert that late hat-trick opportunity he did have the pace and desire to get ahead of the defender and stay there, giving hi the opportunity to shoot.
The great thing as well is that after the match Rafa Benitez said Salomon Rondon is still not fully fit, so maybe even better to come from the Venezuelan.
Garth Crooks talking to BBC Sport, his reasons for selecting Salomon Rondon and then his full PL team of the weekend.
“I saw a lot of Salomon Rondon at West Brom and I came to the conclusion that here was a willing runner who was a little goal shy.
“Well, against Bournemouth the Newcastle striker put that notion to bed with two well-taken goals.
“His second was especially impressive, although he should have had a hat-trick.
“I also noticed that the Venezuela international is sporting a new figure. A much leaner and meaner Rondon.
“Rafael Benitez appears to have got hold of the striker and put him through a serious fitness programme.
“It looks like it’s working.
“Did you know?
“Against Bournemouth, Rondon scored more than once in a Premier League game for just the second time in his career (also three versus Swansea in December 2016).”
Garth Crooks Premier League team of the week:
Jordan Pickford (Everton)
Matthew Lowton (Burnley)
Sol Bamba (Cardiff)
Juan Foyth (Tottenham)
Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)
Fernandinho (Man City)
David Silva (Man City)
Felipe Anderson (West Ham)
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool),
Salomon Rondon (Newcastle United)
Raheem Sterling (Man City)
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 2 Bournemouth 1
Newcastle : Rondon 7, 40
Bournemouth: Lerma 45+6
Possession was Bournemouth 61% Newcastle 39%
Total shots were Bournemouth 14 Newcastle 18
Shots on target were Bournemouth 4 Newcastle 6
Corners were Bournemouth 10 Newcastle 7
Referee: Lee Probert
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Schar, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie (Hayden 74), Diame (Atsu 80), Ki , Kenedy (Clark 78), Rondon, Perez
Darlow, Joselu, Manquillo, Longstaff
Crowd: 49,266 (Bournemouth approx 600)
(Alan Shearer Match of The Day comments HERE)
(Salomon Rondon rates it ‘The Perfect Saturday’ – Read HERE)
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to beating Bournemouth HERE)
(Paul Merson covered Newcastle 2 Bournemouth 1 for Sky Sports – Had plenty to say afterwards HERE)
(Match ratings of all NUFC players HERE)
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]