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Opinion

Rafa’s final 28 and 16 game form tables prove Steve Bruce inherited Newcastle United team on the up

2 weeks ago
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The media have been desperate to build up a picture of Steve Bruce taking over a near impossible job.

With every poor result and ever worse performance, they are keen to point to the start of last season.

Journalists saying just look at how few points Rafa Benitez got early on last season.

As though this in some way excuses/justifies the mess we are seeing under Steve Bruce.

The truth is though, that in reality Bruce did not take over a struggling failing team.

Instead he took over one that was very much on the up.

Yes Rondon and Perez have/had left BUT Steve Bruce claimed he’d had brilliant backing from Mike Ashley in the transfer window, stating he couldn’t have asked for better from the new owner. Even laughably claiming that he (Bruce) had made the decision to sign these new players, especially the big money on Joelinton.

However, just have a look at these two form tables (tables via Transfermarkt).

One covers results since the start of November 2018 (Rafa’s last 28 matches) and the second one is from mid-January 2019 (Rafa’s last 16 games):

From matchday 11 (1-0 win over Watford) up to and including matchday 38 (4-0 win over Fulham):

premier league form table 2018/19 from match week 11

As you can see, that 28 match form guide takes in 75% of the season after the chaos and lack of support from the owner in the summer 2018 transfer window, led to a very difficult opening to the season.

Only West Ham, outside of the top six, had better form over the last seven months of the season and as you can see, Newcastle were only seven points off Champions League form (Man Utd 49 points, Newcastle 42).

Even better – from matchday 23 (3-0 win over Cardiff) up to matchday 38 (4-0 win over Fulham):

premier league form table 2018/19 from match week 23

Startling stuff.

This latter Premier League form table covering the last four months of Rafa’s reign, shows Newcastle only one point outside the top four Champions League placings.

It also puts a lie to the lazy claims that Rafa Benitez will always play negative boring football.

When he has the tools he will/can play a different way.

It was so encouraging that in those last 16 games, only four clubs scored more goals than the 26 Newcastle United scored.

The NUFC manager couldn’t have been messed about more by Mike Ashley last summer.

The owner’s insistence on making a profit in that transfer window and delaying signings such as Rondon until the very end of the window, meant a chaotic summer preparation.

Imagine what would have been possible if Rafa had been given decent money to spend in summer 2019 AND the freedom to go for whoever he wanted, when he wanted to?

Instead we have this absolute shambles under Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce, the head coach the only person at the club who speaks and when he does, the excuses just get more embarrassing.

Newcastle United were NOT a failing team with very little goal threat last season, instead they were a fast improving side with a manager who just needed some realistic backing.

It seems like a distant memory now, as we have yet another clown added as head coach, to go with Ashley, Barnes, Charnley and the rest.

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