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Garth Crooks explains where Newcastle are now at: “The Magpies are up the creek without a paddle”

2 months ago
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Garth Crooks has regularly in the past shone the spotlight on Newcastle United.

A big fan of Rafa Benitez in particular, the BBC Sport pundit previously even claimed the Spaniard could be capable of winning the Premier League with Newcastle, if given proper backing…

After this opening weekend of top tier football, Garth Crooks has once again highlighted the situation at St James Park.

Back on 6 May 2019, after that final intense home game against Liverpool, Garth Crooks had this to say:

“The chant said it all from the Newcastle fans – ‘Rafa Benitez, we want you to stay’.

“I bet Salomon Rondon does too.

“Since his arrival at St James’ Park, the Venezuela international has not looked back.

“He has led the Newcastle striking line with distinction.

“The problem for the Magpies is that if Rafa goes, so does half of that team.

“That team is nothing without Rafa’s leadership and inspiration.

“The quicker owner Mike Ashley can conclude contract talks with Benitez, the better for all concerned.”

Well sadly we all now know the outcome to that, it wasn’t exactly half the team that left but the only reliable goalscorers left the building along with most importantly, Rafa Benitez.

On Sunday, Newcastle were up against an Arsenal side that was drastically weakened and a brilliant chance for the Magpies to start the season with three points, instead the visiting keeper had no serious save to make.

Whilst as for the change of manager (head coach…), the second half descended into farce/chaos as Steve Bruce made changes, contributing to the winning goal and a disjointed last half hour where Newcastle never looked like getting an equaliser.

After watching the game, Garth Crooks selected Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in his Premier League team of the week, the striker providing the only attacking threat due to Arsenal’s injury and fitness issues.

As for Newcastle United, the Garth Crooks message was stark:

“I did tell you Rafael Benitez would leave if the owner could not match his ambitions.

“Now he’s left, the Magpies are up the creek without a paddle.

“Good luck with that.”

Newcastle United aren’t certain to fail this season but when your top class manager is forced out and no effort is made to keep your only two proven goalscorers, it creates massive problems.

Especially when you then bringĀ  in somebody that no other Premier League club would have appointed and hand him young inexperienced attacking replacements who are expected to instantly replace what has been lost/thrown away.

Garth Crooks talking to BBC Sport after selecting yesterday’s match winner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in his Premier League team of the week:

“I don’t think you will see a better display from a player asked to lead the line on his own over the rest of the season. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was outstanding against Newcastle.

“Apart from Mesut Ozil, Arsenal no longer possess the quality of player who can thread a ball through the eye of a needle so, on the odd occasion, when that quality does appear Aubameyang has to be equal to it and he was.

“Ainsley Maitland-Niles was the player who provided that touch of class which produced the opening for Aubameyang on this occasion.

“As for Newcastle?

“I did tell you Rafael Benitez would leave if the owner could not match his ambitions.

“Now he’s left, the Magpies are up the creek without a paddle.

“Good luck with that.”

Did you know?

“Aubameyang made his 50th appearance in the Premier League against Newcastle, netting his 33rd goal in the competition.

“The only players to have scored more than him in their first 50 appearances are Alan Shearer (41), Andy Cole (41), Mohamed Salah (35) and Kevin Phillips (34).”

Garth Crooks Premier League team of the week:

Ederson (Manchester City)

Lewis Dunk (Brighton)

Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

Harry Maguire (Man Utd)

Kevin de Bruyne (Man City)

Paul Pogba (Man Utd)

Tanguy Ndombele (Spurs)

Raheem Sterling (Man City)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)

Harry Kane (Spurs)

Marcus Rashford (Man Utd)

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