Rafa Benitez led Newcastle United to a 1-0 victory over Jose Mourinho and Manchester United at St. James’ Park on Saturday. Here are some of the key talking points after the game.
Never be afraid to give a player a debut in a huge game
Newcastle’s keeper Martin Dubravka was a surprise choice for many Newcastle fans as Karl Darlow has been relatively solid in recent games. Rafael Benitez who has had a real issue with his keepers since the start of the season as he feels both Rob Elliot and Darlow lack authority and experience. Dubravna showed his authority and had a real presence which Newcastle have lacked since Tim Krul was in his peak. He bossed the defence and during the final minutes when Newcastle were under pressure he really stepped up to the mark. If he continues to play like this he will soon be a fan favourite for the Toon Army.
Newcastle’s Glorious Win over Jose Mourinho and Manchester United
Kenedy Continues to Thrill
Kenedy has been a fantastic addition to the Newcastle squad and is clearly the “go-to” guy when Newcastle are looking to create anything. Kenedy has looked much more of a threat than the underachieving Christian Atsu and inexperienced Jacob Murphy. His impressive performances do beg the question why Antonio Conte has not given him more opportunities at Stamford Bridge. He does look a class apart and I’m sure if Benitez had the funds he would love to make him a permanent addition.
The mystery that is Paul Pogba!
This match was the second time I have seen Paul Pogba live and I can see why now he splits many opinions. In the reverse fixture Paul Pogba had pulled the strings and dominated the midfield, he was literally unplayable during United 3-1 win back in October. However, today he lacked a presence in the midfield and was stifled hugely by the enigmatic Jonjo Shelvey and limited Mohamed Diame. He clearly is a talent and is a top player. However, with such a huge fee of £89 million he has to do it on a consistent basis and for me he has no justified the faith Mourinho has put in him to be a star player. The fact that Mourinho decided to take him off instead of Jesse Lingard or Anthony Martial tells me that the Frenchman’s stock has fallen in the Portuguese manager’s eyes.
What must Alexis be thinking?
When Alexis Sanchez left Arsenal for Manchester United, he stated that he had moved to win titles and that believed Manchester United were the biggest club in the world. However, when you watch Manchester United you cannot see any element of their game which is superior to Pep Guardiola’s Blues across the city. Alexis could have been with Manchester City look like they will be competing with PSG/Barcelona for the Champions League and will win the league at the canter. Instead, Alexis is with Manchester United look like they will be fighting with Spurs for second place and do not have the firepower to threaten in European’s premier competition.
Jamaal Lascelles a contender for England’s back three
Jamaal Lascelles is a player who has been in fantastic form this year in a struggling side and he should receive some international recognition. Lascelles who has taken the responsibility of being Newcastle captain very seriously has been so solid and always reliable. He has leadership qualities and is constantly barking out orders to other players. He leads by example both on and off the pitch and has been a fantastic ambassador for the Toon army. Gareth Southgate has shown he is keen to play a back-three and Lascelles must be considered as players like Michael Keane and Gary Cahill are consistently struggling for their respective clubs. However, Lascelles is not as comfortable on the ball in comparison to the likes of Harry Maguire and John Stones and that may count against him, especially with Southgate liking to play the ball out from defences
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