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Rafa Benitez verdict after losing 2-0 at Arsenal – Newcastle need up to £75m spent on final third

1 year ago
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Rafa Benitez watched his side lose by a goal in each half at the Emirates.

Whilst the Newcastle boss talked about Newcastle having chances and Arsenal scoring two ‘scrappy’ goals, the Magpies were very much a distant second.

I think when Rafa says scrappy goals he is meaning the quality of defending.

Dummett could have made a better effort of blocking Ramsey’s opener and then Lascelles was far too slow in turning to prevent Lacazette scoring the second.

The scoreline flattered Newcastle a lot more than the home side and whilst the manager will be disappointed with his side’s defending at crucial times, fans will be more disappointed with a lack of any real penetration in the final third.

Arsenal are so strong at home I think Rafa feared it could get messy and didn’t open up too much to try and get back into it, even though he claims his side were ‘pushing’ for the equaliser.

The comment that will make the headlines though is Rafa Benitez declaring ‘The final third we have been speaking all season…the final third you have to spend £40m £50m, £75m.’

Anybody who thinks Rafa Benitez is definitely staying should think again, as the manager to me is making clear just what kind of backing he expects from Mike Ashley, if the owner is to convince him to stay.

Rafa Benitez:

“We were close but it was about chances in the final third.

“You have to defend against a team with pace and quality.

“You have to do things right in defence.

“We conceded the second goal it became even more difficult for us.

“We tried to attack but they are a good team at home and they play and pressed.

“We were pushing at 1-0 and they need to score that second goal…both of their goals were scrappy goals.

“The final third we have been speaking all season…the final third you have to spend £40m, £50m, £75m.

“We have to try to get three points against Palace.

“The next match is the most important.

“Obviously at the weekend the teams at the bottom, except for Cardiff, were winning.

“We played against a good team and were fine for a while in the first half, we could avoid their goal, it was a little bit lucky.

“We had situations on the counter-attack where we could be more dangerous but we didn’t do it.

“The last 10 minutes they had chances to score but until the second goal we were pushing.

“It is a shame because you could feel the atmosphere was getting nervous.

“When you play top sides away it can be a mistake which makes the difference. In the end it was a mistake and we must learn from this and be ready for the next one.

“I think 38 points is enough, 40 just in case. Hopefully it will be less.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0

Goals:

Arsenal:

Ramsey 30, Lacazette 83

Possession was Arsenal 71% Newcastle 29%

Total shots were Arsenal 7 Newcastle 3

Shots on target were Arsenal 4 Newcastle 1

Corners were Arsenal 6 Newcastle 2

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Dummett, Lejeune, Ritchie (Kenedy 75), Hayden (Ki 67), Diame, Almiron, Perez (Muto 77), Rondon

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Manquillo, Shelvey, Fernandez

Crowd: 59,869 (though obviously nowhere near that in the stadium with thousands and thousands of empty seats)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the match HERE)

(Rafa’s team outclassed but not disgraced – Read HERE)

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