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Opinion

Here’s a comparison…Rafa Benitez team that beat Bournemouth cost less than Joelinton

4 weeks ago
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Anybody who wants to compare what has happened this season under Steve Bruce, can’t judge success or failure compared to the first few months of last season under Rafa Benitez.

To do so is just plain stupid and/or deceitful.

Rafa Benitez said it last season, Steve Bruce has said it this season, probably all managers/head coaches have said it at some time. A manager can only do so much and results mostly depend on the players that they have at their disposal.

On 10 November 2018, this Rafa Benitez team beat Bournemouth 2-1:

£4m Dubravka

£5m Yedlin

£0 Dummett

£3m Schar

£6m Fernandez

£5m Diame

£0m Ki

£12m Ritchie

£0m Rondon

£2m Perez

£0 Kenedy

On 9 November 2019, almost exactly a year later, Newcastle beat Bournemouth 2-1 with a front trio costing £80m and Joelinton costing £40m alone.

Compare that to Rafa’s team 364 days earlier, which cos £37m in total.

You are not comparing like with like.

Indeed, that was the point when Rondon started getting to somewhere like full fitness.

Prior to that, Rafa Benitez was mostly having to rely on Josleu. This is Joselu who was bought a year earlier, Rafa desperately needing a PL level striker after promotion and Mike Ashley allocated him just £5m.

Compare that to this past summer where Ashley was busting a gut to insist on spending £40m on Joelinton.

Just imagine what Rafa Benitez could have done with that money…?

Maybe the biggest deceit when charlatans in the media are making these comparisons to try and big Ashley and Bruce up, whilst doing Rafa down, is when they purposefully don’t show the full context/bigger picture.

For starters, summer 2018 saw Mike Ashley force Rafa to make a £20m profit on transfers.

Merino left for £10m and Rafa was forced to replace him with free transfer Ki.

Mitrovic left for £22m and Rafa wasn’t allowed to bid to buy Rondon, indeed only getting him on loan at the last minute totally unfit with no pre-season, when agreeing Gayle could go in the other direction.

However, it is the what happened next last season, that is the biggest deceit when journalists don’t acknowledge it.

I make no apology for once again using these tables that show Rafa’s form in the final 28 and 16 matches of last season:

Premier League form over the course of final 16 games of last (2018/19) season:

premier league form table 2018/19 from match week 23

Premier League form over the course of final 28 games of last (2018/19) season:

premier league form table 2018/19 from match week 11

I wouldn’t be so harsh as to say that not getting top five would be failure for Steve Bruce BUT I do think top eight is where Newcastle should be.

If Rafa Benitez had stayed and been allowed to spend the cash available as he saw fit, then based on everything we know, particularly how he got the team last season in the final seven months and four/five months, then Newcastle would have been top eight as a minimum this season.

Just look at the league table at the minute and the games you have seen.

Liverpool are excellent, whilst Man City, Leicester and Chelsea are looking good.

After that, you have promoted Sheffield United on 17 points, only three points ahead of Everton in fifteenth.

Good luck to Steve Bruce but don’t pretend staying up is any kind of a success.

The players he inherited are better than that and with the extra money spent, particularly £80m on the forward trio in 2019, success can only be measured by a far higher league placing.

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