Rafa Benitez’ tactics against Chelsea were unacceptable

Newcastle’s approach to getting beat by Chelsea was pathetic.

Think I’m wrong? Ok, give me some actual evidence that it was correct. Find some and comment on this article below.

Here’s mine:

April 2018:

Newcastle 3-0 Chelsea. Newcastle set up in there usual formation of 4-4-2 and hammer Chelsea with a team full of their first team regulars.

The Newcastle team available to Rafa on Sunday had better players than the one last season. Shelvey was the only significant loss if his injury was actually real. We all know Lascelles’ wasn’t.

Ayoze+Perez

Last 5 PL matches at SJP:

Newcastle 3-0 Chelsea

Newcastle 2-2 Chelsea

Newcastle 2-1 Chelsea

Newcastle 2-0 Chelsea

Newcastle 3-2 Chelsea

More evidence? Ok. Chelsea under Sarri are only two games in and are trying to find their feet under his way of playing and philosophy.

Against Arsenal they were exposed defensively time and time and time again. Newcastle are capable of opening them up in the same way on their own pitch.

As soon as we went 1-0 down, Rafa suddenly switched his formation to 4-4-2 and we scored. Funny that. So, basically, Rafa wanted a 0-0 draw and thought we could hold out sitting back for 90 mins?

If your evidence is how much the Newcastle team cost compared to Chelsea, then explain how that made any difference in the previous 5 matches in the PL at SJP?

For Rafa Benitez to ignore all of the above and assume Chelsea are such a high-quality outfit that will no doubt whatsoever tear his team apart if he were to set up in the same manner he did in April, is seriously questionable.

As a Newcastle fan, I don’t like my team under any circumstances reducing itself to such defeatist pathetic tactics. But if we are up against Man City or Barcelona (one day) then I can accept it.

This was unacceptable.

The fact we lost leaves a very sour taste in the back of the throat.

If the next mid-table type team play Chelsea at home and beat them convincingly, it should embarrass Mr Benitez.

The Ginger Pirlo

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Mike Ashley is a small-time, cheap, unambitious, pig-headed, clueless, stubborn fool

Mike Ashley has done a lot of things at Newcastle. Most of it inconceivable to a Newcastle fan. But his latest venture in making Rafa Benitez’ time on Tyneside untenable tops the lot.

The question is why is he doing what he is doing? Why is he blatantly refusing to support him and not making every effort to keep him here for years to come?

Some say it’s perhaps there is a possible sale of the club in the offing so for him to spend any money isn’t in his interest, nor is the future of the club. This is wide of the mark IMO.

Others say it’s because he refuses to allow a manager with one year left on his contract to spend money on players and then leave at the end of the year, which would then leave a scenario of a new manager wanting his own players. This is closer to the mark IMO.

But even this doesn’t really make sense as the ONLY way Rafa would sign a new deal is if the club back him. Not the other way round that Ashley wants it. If you sign a deal, then we will spend…promise. Despite our diabolical record of doing so. Rafa is not so stupid to lock himself into a no-win situation, again.

Mike Ashley is a stubborn clueless fool who only plays by his own rules based on the fact it has served him well in creating the UK’s biggest sports retailer, so in his head, why change?

Well isn’t it obvious why you should change? If you have the record Ashley has over the past 10 years as NUFC owner, whatever mindset you had must be torn up and start again, This should have been done years ago, never mind now.

If you have been making terrible mistakes and nonsense decisions time & time & time again, then at some point you basically give up trying to make decisions and let someone else do it.

That person should be Rafa Benitez. Ashley has a hard time trusting people. He tends to trust morons and con artists like Llambias, Jimenez, Kinnear, Wise etc. Which says a lot about his character.

Ashley should be feeding off Rafa and listening to his plans and be helping him build his project. The man clearly knows what he is doing. It’s obvious. Look at his career!

But no. Ashley refuses to be playing second fiddle to some Spanish manager who thinks he’s special. It’s his club so he calls the shots. Total ego-maniac moron. The lack of ambition inside the walls of the boardroom is frightening. Terrifying in fact.

Imagine having a manager whose last job was Real Madrid and has the trophies he has on his CV and not trust him to make signings when we were in the Championship not long ago?

Imagine not allowing him to do what he wants to do? Unthinkable to anyone with a brain. Or to anyone with true ambition. Charnley, Bishop and Barnes are not fit for purpose.

All men hired by Ashley are idiots and con men. This massive stain on Ashley’s character is the biggest issue NUFC have had and continued to have. We never have the right men in place where it counts.

We have a thoroughbred horse of a manager in the stable but his keeper doesn’t know how or even want to feed him and his trainer can’t be bothered to keep him fit. His owner nowhere to be seen and deprives him of what he needs. So will he fulfil his potential? Of course not.

Newcastle need a new owner. Once they do this will bring a new chairman, CEO etc and finally the manager can be able to do his job. There is only one way this happens and it’s if Ashley sells up.

Two things can create a sale. Someone comes along from no where and pays a fee Ashley can’t refuse or Ashley lowers his price and looks for a sale himself.

The fans have a job to force Ashley’s hand. A half empty stadium speaks volumes. Disrupt his Sports Direct stores, this will also send a message to him “directly”. The fans must try to force Ashley to sell as a random billionaire coming along has much chance of a Euromillions win for you or me.

The fans must do their part. To continue to just fill out the stadium and carry on regardless will do nothing. Rafa will leave in the summer and Ashley will remain to do whatever he wants.

Ashley is a small time, cheap, unambitious, pig-headed, clueless, stubborn fool. He must be removed for Newcastle to ever reach its potential. This is a fact.

The Ginger Pirlo

Newcastle Utd signing Asian players for purely commercial reasons?

Newcastle Utd are set to sign their second Asian player in a matter of weeks with Yoshinori Muto on his way to Tyneside from Japan to complete his medical. This follows the free transfer of Ki Sung-Yeung from Swansea.

This raises some questions of what is the sudden interest in Asian players, considering that before these signings Newcastle had never had an Asian player in their history? Ever.

Now I am not saying these aren’t good players and won’t do well for us. They might. However, if you take a look at our new shirt I think the main answer is staring us in the face.

As of last season, NUFC gained a new shirt sponsor from the awful Wonga debacle to the new and ‘funky’ Fun88bet.com who are an Asian online betting company. So I don’t think it really requires an investigation from Sherlock to work out where I sudden interest in Asian players has come from.

Now, I am not saying investing in Asian players to make moves into the Asian market is a bad thing, in fact I have been asking why Newcastle haven’t done this in the past as it’s easy money to be made with the right player on the books.

However, given our massive restraints in signing football players, especially ones that Rafa Benitez wants, if we are in anyway signing footballers for mainly commercial reasons to appease our main sponsor, then more serious questions need to be asked of this Ashley establishment.

I personally have analysed Bundesliga matches for two seasons as part of my job as a performance analyst and I can sum up what I have seen of Muto as; he is ok. Nothing special. So, to spend just under £10 million on him would be a massive punt on our part.

If Muto ends up being our only investment in the forward line come the start of the season then Lee Charnley deserves to be hauled up in front of parliament never mind a petition. Muto at best will serve as competition for Ayoze Perez in the no.10 position. He is not a prolific goalscorer by any stretch.

I am still of the belief that once Mitrovic is sold to Fulham we will bring in a No.9, most likely Rondon from West Brom but I will put nothing past our administration in leaving any sale until deadline day and we end up with no replacement.

However, sticking on point, Fun88 bet will be extremely happy with our two Asian signings and no doubt they will both be front and centre of all our commercial campaigns this season as they promote the bright blue Fun88 logo with pride.

It just so happens Keisuke Honda is available on a free transfer and reminded everyone of his quality in the World Cup so don’t be surprised if Charnley has made an enquiry to his agent.

I am just surprised he hasn’t brought in Southampton’s Maya Yoshida instead of Fabian Schar…

All hail Fun88.com. Bet now!

#DontTakeYourSeat #DontBuyTheShirt

Newcastle Utd are at a crossroads.

Ashley and Rafa have drawn their line in the sand on how this football club moves forward.

rafa-benitez-thumbs-up-promotion-newcastle-united-nufc-bw-650x400

On the side are the fans, they have a choice and must make a decision on which side of the line they want to be on.

Ashley side of the line is to carry on regardless, filling out the stadium and accepting lack of investment in the team.

Rafa’s side is to make a stand against this nonsense and refuse to accept it. This choice is the most obvious, however, is the most difficult to make. As it would require some harsh actions…

Ashley’s side of just carrying on regardless in this mindless fashion of sitting motionless in the back seat of a car as it rolls down a hill towards the edge of a cliff is pathetic.

Two things are set in stone in the current climate. Rafa Benitez WILL leave in the current state of play at the end of the season and there WILL be anger and uproar when it happens.

So my question is very straight forward. If we know both these things WILL happen, why wait? Why are 50,000+ people buying the new shirt, filling out the stadium and waiting for the inevitable?

What are they mindless, cowardly sheep?

I have witnessed and lived through every situation under Ashley in the past 10 years but I have to say this latest one is showing badly on the fans more than him.

We all know what Ashley is by now. A cheap, ignorant and unfathomable moron when it comes to his understanding of running a football club. He doesn’t know what he is doing.

He only understands a handful of things. A premier league team, with passionate supporters filling out a 53,000 seater stadium with his Sports Direct banners all over it promotes his baby.

That is it. That’s why he is here.

So fans must realise that they have it in their power to get rid of him? Surely?

If you want rid of Ashley then don’t fill out the stadium. It’s that simple. An empty stadium on a Premier League level embarrasses him. It embarrasses the logos surrounding the empty seats.

This embarrassment is the only message that will get through to him. Bed sheets spray painted with small cliche messages don’t get through to him.

He laughs at you. You know why? Because you paid him for the privilege of getting into the stadium and paying for your seat. He cares about your money, not your opinion.

The situation of Mike Ashley vs The People of Newcastle has come to a head now and it must be resolved. The fans have a direct choice.

Continue to fill out the stadium, sell out the £65 new kit and try to enjoy Rafa Benitez last season as manager before he waves goodbye for good.

Or

Kick up a fuss and refuse to take your seat or buy the new kit and make Ashley realise once and for all what he needs to do. He needs to go.

Once Ashley enters serious and genuine negotiations to sell the club, then the Toon Army can flock back into the stadium to support Rafa and his boys.

It’s short term pain for long term gain.

Newcastle fans have the power in their hands to end this nonsense and save the club from inevitable doom.

The only way forward is with Rafa. The only way to keep Rafa is if Ashley goes. The only way Ashley will go is if the one thing keeping him here is killed.

That one thing is passionate match day support to a worldwide audience that actively promotes his sweat shop. Stop this. Kill it and he will go.

Once he goes, the new owner will invest in the team and in Rafa and we will be free to reach our potential.

If Ashley stays, Rafa will leave and some average manager will come in and we will go round the same old wheel of misfortune all over again.

It’s your choice lads and lasses. Make it.

#DontTakeYourSeats #DontBuyTheShirt

Ginger Pirlo

(I’ve not stepped foot in St James nor bought a kit for 10 years now. It really isn’t that hard knowing it’s for the greater good)

Why Rafa taking over as Spain national boss makes sense

Fernando Hierro has left the Spanish football federation and with it leaves the Spain job open for a new manager and beginning.

Rafa Benitez name has been linked and dismissed by many as nothing but paper talk. However, when you consider it logically, it makes sense.

5eb10-rafa2bwave

Spain have been horrendous in the last two World Cups since becoming champions of the world in 2010. Dumped out in the group stage in 2014 and embarrassingly losing to Russia in 2018.

Defensively they were shocking and in attack they were several lacking in cutting edge as they pass, pass, passed the ball around side to side seemingly for the sheer sake of it.

Their midfield maestro’s of Xavi and Iniesta are now gone and Cesc Fabregas won’t be around come the next World Cup and wasn’t even picked in the squad for Russia.

What Spain need is a new generation and with it a new style. Tiki-taka looks like yesterday’s style and boringly out of date. They also don’t have the right players to do it.

When you have Diego Costa up front then passing the ball around for fun is not going to get the best out of him. Going slightly more direct is just what the doctor ordered.

They have young players like Asensio who is full of pace and full of running. Iago Aspas is in a similar mould. They need a manager who will carry the transition from purely possession based football to effective football. Rafa Benitez could be the perfect fit.

He will build their team from back to front and make sure they are defensively sound first and foremost. He will also pick and develop the players that will do the best job to do the end goal; win.

Rafa also has an incredible record in cup tournaments. Champions League, UEFA Cup, FA Cup & Italian Cup are on his CV. He knows how to win. Plus he is obviously one other thing. Spanish.

Not just Spanish but a boy from Madrid who would be nothing but proud to take control of his country. He cried tears of joy when appointed Real Madrid manager. He would do the same as Spanish national coach.

As a Toon fan, I clearly don’t want it to happen right now as he has a job to do building my club into something special. But if Mike Ashley messes him around over the next few weeks of the transfer window, it could be an offer to good to turn down.

Let’s hope Spain don’t ask…

Ginger Pirlo

Belgium should be sending Japan a thank you note.

When Japan left the World Cup they left a thank you note, in Russian I believe, for their hosts which received worldwide acclaim.

If Belgium end up lifting the World Cup trophy next week, then they should be sending their own thank you note to Japan.

In their last 16 match, the Japanese raced into a two goal lead which came from them taking advantage of Belgium’s lopsided system.

Martinez has insisted on playing a 3-4-3 formation with a right back on the right of a midfield four and an attacking winger on the left.

In theory, some people would say this gives you the best of both worlds. However, in reality it can also give you neither.

The Japanese took advantage of what seemed a blatant weakness in the Belgium fortress, in behind the fake wing backs.

Vast gaps were there for all to see and Japan took advantage like the rebel alliance blasting a couple of shots down a massive hole in the Death Star.

A clear weakness overlooked that would inevitably be there downfall to the right opponent. Luckily for Belgium, it was ‘only Japan’.

If that match played out like most anticipated and the Belgian red devils ran out 2-0 comfortable winners, then Martinez would very likely have stuck to his guns going into the Brazil game. As why would he change?

The 3-4-3 would no doubt have been absolutely demolished by the likes of Neymar and Willian, which would have made this quarter final a very different affair.

Not only would they have been weak without the ball but playing De Bruyne in a midfield two against the Brazilian three, would have also seen him stifled.

As it turns out, Martinez learned his lesson from Japan after a miracle comeback and plugged the gaps and free his biggest weapon.

Belgium were the clear better team last night and Martinez is being lauded a tactical master. Yet this Jedi may need to remember what has lead him to this moment.

When you consider how well they played in a 4-3-3 with his big hitters in better positions to play, you should be asking why he has insisted with the doomed 3-4-3 for his entire reign as Belgium boss.

Yet nobody will if they lift that trophy. It will all be forgotten. But I would be keen to stress to Martinez if I ever met him to insist he remembers the Japanese.

If it weren’t for them, Belgium could well be going home right now. I suggest Mr Martinez should be sending a thank you note of his own to Japan, perhaps in Russian would be apt.

Ginger Pirlo

Survival Sunday prediction

I am gonna look into my crystal ball and make a bold claim.

Now that the likes of Newcastle, Bournemouth are safe and I think Crystal Palace will comfortably stay up. This is what I think will happen in terms of the relegation battle:

Brighton and/or Huddersfield won’t get another point for the rest of the season. Their respected fixtures are quite honestly, rock hard (old term, thought I would use it) so will be stranded on 35 points. (I repeat at least one of them. maybe both)

Southampton will manage to get themselves a couple of wins and a draw in the coming weeks, most likely against Leicester away, Bournemouth at home and Swansea away. This would also put them on 35 points heading into Man City at home on the final day.

Now, Swansea are on 33 at the moment with Man City away, Chelsea at home and Bournemouth away. At best I think they can get a point or two from these games but it’s also likely they won’t get anything.

Then they have that Southampton game and given my prediction above, they will only draw this game at best and will be somewhere around the 35 point mark themselves heading into their final day showdown with Stoke (who I think will be already gone)

So, going into the last game of the season, we could have a situation where all four of these teams are sat on 35 points and we could have a goal difference decider on who gets dumped into the Championship. With all that being said here is who I think it will be:

15th – Swansea
16th – Huddersfield
17th – Southampton
18th – Brighton
19th – Stoke
20th – West Brom

Saints survive an onslaught from Man City and keep the score down to stay up on goal difference.

Sorry Brighton, but just like when you blew the Championship title last season, it could be last day heartbreak for you again from a seemingly comfortable position.

@TheGingerPirlo_

Brighton