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Superb Matt Le Tissier analysis after finest Rafa Benitez Newcastle moment 2 years ago today

4 months ago

Two years ago to the day, the final score at St James Park was Newcastle 3 Everton 2.

We didn’t know it back then of course but after this win on 9 March 2019, Rafa Benitez was to only have eight more matches in charge of Newcastle United before Mike Ashley forced him out.

This is a match (watch goals and highlights below) that should be mandatory viewing for the ridiculous journalist and pundit characters, who continue to lecture us on what a brilliant job against the odds Steve Bruce is doing, as well as how supposedly the Rafa era was full of miserable football.

I know these facts get repeated often on The Mag from the story of that 2018/19 Newcastle United season BUT they are pivotal to understanding what has gone on in recent years under Mike Ashley.

The first 10 games of that 2018/19 season  saw a miserable start to the season, not one win. The back story to that though was that Mike Ashley had totally undermined Rafa Benitez in summer 2018, forcing the manager to make a £20m+ profit on transfer dealings and even loan deals such as Salomon Rondon didn’t happen until towards the very end of the transfer window. A nightmare pre-season and it too a couple of months for Rondon to get fully fit and injury free.

However, the final 28 games of that 2018/19 season under Rafa Benitez saw Newcastle with the eighth best form in the top tier.

Even better, once Miguel Almiron came in to help and Rafa could go more on the offensive in most games, the final 16 matches saw Newcastle pick up the fifth most points and score the fifth highest number of goals, as the table below shows:

This Newcastle 3 Everton 2 match came in the middle of that final 16 game run, the eighth of the sixteen.

Matt Le Tissier covered Newcastle 3 Everton 2 for Sky Sports and he explains really well just what a brilliant job against the odds, that Rafa Benitez did with his in-game management.

He also gets across just how exciting the game was, plus the video highlights are the best proof of that.

Just look at the stats below as well, Newcastle completely dominating on shots, shots on targets, corners.

Newcastle two down at the break, Matt Le Tissier declaring: ‘Give Rafa a lot of credit, went to a back four at half-time, brought Dummett on and took his captain off, a big call in that situation. Pushed Ritchie further forward to left side of midfield and things changed from that moment on.’

Jeff Stelling and Matt Le Tissier on Sky Sports:

Jeff Stelling:

“What a comeback by Newcastle United on a day of comebacks.

“Will they [Newcastle] feel that justice was served with that 3-2 victory, due to the manner of Everton’s second goal?”

Matt Le Tissier:


“One down to Calvert-Lewin’s glancing header, they [Newcastle] then get a penalty when in my opinion, Jordan Pickford is very lucky to stay on the pitch.

“Absolutely no attempt to play the ball whatsoever, Rondon a clear goal scoring opportunity. Those two things tick the boxes of a red card, Lee Mason didn’t even give him a yellow card.

“That’s incredible.

“You can’t explain it.

“The only way you can explain is that Lee Mason completely forgot the laws.

“The biggest thing about it is that Jordan Pickford made no attempt to play the ball. He literally rugby tackled Salomon Rondon to the ground. Nothing was done, Ritchie smashes the penalty, Pickford dives to the left and the ball hits his leg.

“Everton go up the other end and all of a sudden it is 2-0.

“At that point you think, this is going to take some character to come back from these injustices. You are 2-0 down and you think you should be playing against 10 men…but what a second half they put in.

“It was a lovely [first Newcastle] goal, the work between Rondon and Perez for the first goal was terrific, brilliant partnership between the two of them. Couple of one-twos with Perez chipping a lovely little ball and Rondon adjusting his body well and firing in a left foot volley.

“All of a sudden the crowd were right behind them, had their tails up and them forward.

“It was the 81st minute when the equaliser came. Almiron strikes a terrific shot from 25 yards out. It was straight at him but Jordan Pickford only parried it out and Perez smashed it past him for 2-2.

“I haven’t seen the third [Newcastle] goal from side on yet but it looks like Rondon is offside.

“A complete and utter comeback.

“Give Rafa a lot of credit, went to a back four at half-time, brought Dummett on and took his captain off, a big call in that situation.

“Pushed Ritchie further forward to left side of midfield and things changed from that moment on.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 3 Everton 2



Rondon 65, Perez, 81, 84


Calvert-Lewin 18, Richarlison 32

Possession was Everton 54% Newcastle 46%

Total shots were Everton 7 Newcastle 19

Shots on target were Everton 3 Newcastle 7

Corners were Everton 2 Newcastle 8

Referee: Lee Mason

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles (Dummett 45), Lejeune, Ritchie (Kenedy 73),  Hayden, Ki (Shelvey 79), Almiron, Perez, Rondon

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Joselu, Diame, Manquillo

Crowd: 52,242 (Everton 3,000)


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