Ahead of this weekend, Mark Lawrenson has been talking about Newcastle United.
NUFC face Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup and Lawrenson says they will want to avoid the ‘ignominy (Definition is ‘Public shame or disgrace’) of losing’ to a Championship side.
The idea of Newcastle United avoiding ‘Public Shame of Disgrace’ under Mike Ashley is a ship that sailed an awful long time ago.
In 11 FA Cup ‘campaigns’ under this owner, Newcastle United have never got past the fourth round.
That record littered with exits to lower league clubs, including a 3-1 defeat at League Two Stevenage under Alan Pardew in 2011 and a 3-0 loss to League One Oxford United under Rafa Benitez in 2017.
Losing to a Championship club a ‘Public Shame’ under Mike Ashley?
I don’t think so sadly, it would be just seen as par for the course. More than maybe any other season the NUFC owner has made it impossible for Rafa Benitez to even contemplate any kind of an FA Cup run, with the manager being forced to make a £20m+ profit on transfers in summer 2018, following on from not a single player bought in January 2018 and minimal net investment in summer 2017.
Rafa Benitez won’t be throwing any matches but it is for certain that if he could push a button and the FA Cup would disappear this season, he would do it without hesitation.
Only two points above relegation and with Chelsea away next, Rafa simply can’t risk anything against Blackburn.
With injuries, Muto and Ki off to the Asian Cup and the fourth round of the FA Cup played the weekend after a relegation six pointer against Cardiff and before a week that features games against both Man City and Spurs, the Newcastle boss will sadly be hoping for some kind of escape route this weekend.
The odds are laughable, Blackburn are safely mid-table in the Championship and are sure to throw a lot at this game, so for a much changed Newcastle team to be 13/20 odds on (see below), only the very rich or unhinged would be taking those odds.
Blackburn of course carried a lot of luck and beat Newcastle home and away in the Championship season, scoring with their one shot on target in both matches.
The sad reality is that the team Rafa will be able or willing to put out tomorrow, will be nowhere near as good as the team he put out when NUFC were in the second tier.
Mark Lawrenson predicts an entertaining goal filled match tomorrow, with Newcastle coming out with a 3-2 win and at least temporarily, avoiding the ‘ignominy’ – here’s hoping so for those who turn up at the game.
When it comes to ‘Public Shame and Disgrace’, the one saving grace is at least Mike Ashley hasn’t pulled another shameful publicity stunt, last season after denying Rafa Benitez proper backing, the owner laughably said there was a £20m bonus for the players if they won the FA Cup. That is trademark Ashley, denying the manager backing meaning he can’t afford to put a team out to try and have a cup run – but for his own selfish reasons pull such a publicity stunt.
What a time to be alive.
Mark Lawrenson talking to BBC Sport:
“Although Newcastle’s focus is on staying up.
“They will want to avoid the ignominy of losing to Blackburn at St James’ Park.
“Prediction is Newcastle 3 Balckburn 2.”
Newcastle v Blackburn Match Betting:
All Newcastle v Blackburn betting HERE