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Opinion

Ayoze Perez argument fires up again – Rafa Benitez with the answer

2 months ago
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Ayoze Perez has been at Newcastle United for five years.

He has played more times for NUFC than any other current player.

Ayoze Perez making 175 league appearances so far, Paul Dummett next highest (by my reckoning) with 153 league appearances (including 18 before Perez was signed.

Safe to say I think, if you haven’t come to any conclusions about the former Tenerife strker, then you never will.

That doesn’t mean you have to necessarily decide he is the best/worst Newcastle player you have ever seen, or that he should be first name on the team sheet or never get a game. Instead, you should by now have a good idea of the positives and negatives he brings to the squad.

It is the same with every one of our players, none of them are Lionel Messi, they all could be replaced with better options.

However, we all have our own ideas on where we rank/rate each Newcastle player.

I call my first (and only) witness to perfectly sum up Ayoze Perez…

Rafa Benitez – 2 November 2018:

“Ayoze understands the frustrations of some people.

“He has quality and talent and he scored eight goals (last season), so he can do these things.

“Has he got to be more consistent?

“Has he got to have more pace, more ability?

“Yes, you can put a lot of things together, but, again I will say, he scored eight goals last year and is a member of our family, so we have to protect him.”

Rafa Benitez  making these comments after many fans questioned his place in the team, Ayoze Perez having not contributed a single assist or goal in the first 10 Premier Leagues of the season, none of which NUFC had won.

For me, Rafa sums up his countryman perfectly. Ayoze Perez has some good games, scores some good goals, but doesn’t do it often/consistently enough.

You look at the stats (from whoscored) and in the four Premier League seasons at Newcastle, Perez as scored 7, 6, 8 and 7 (so far this season) PL goals.

In terms of assists, it is 0, 2, 5, 2 (so far this season).

So seven goals and two assists per season on average in the Premier League.

I would say good enough to be playing from our current options, with lower stats he shouldn’t be playing, whilst if he was getting double figure goals and half dozen plus assists, Newcastle wouldn’t need to look for a better option.

However, we have all these years of stats and Ayoze Perez turns 26 in July, so I think he is what he is.

A player with some talent and goalscoring ability but not consistent enough, as Rafa Benitez says.

To sum up his lack of consistency, I think there are some revealing stats if you look at his goalscoring over the seasons in the Premier League.

2014/15 Scored only 2 goals in final 19 PL matches.

2015/16 Scored only 2 goals in final 22 PL matches.

2017/18 Scored only 1 goal in first 21 PL games.

2018/19 Scored only 2 goals in first 22 PL games.

Perez scores goals in small bursts but goes missing far too often, for long stretches. He played well against Leicester on Friday but did nothing against Arsenal or Palace.

Rafa Benitez hasn’t been able to improve that consistency in the 3+ years he has been at the club and I think he would look to replace Perez if he signs a contract extension. Great if Perez accepted a place on the bench as third or fourth choice striker but if he wanted to move on then you could understand it.

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