✅ Aston Villa 2–0 Newcastle United.. my thoughts
✅ Why I think Rafa will not be returning to Newcastle anytime soon
✅ Transfer Updates
✅ NUFC v LEEDS Match Preview
Welcome to The Weekly NUFC Update. A lot to cover today- sadly not as positive as I would have liked but we have a dark cloud over the Newcastle United these days and there’s denying it! I’ll start with the 2 nil defeat to Aston Villa, I’ll talk about why I think Rafa will NOT be returning to Newcastle, then I’ll cover some transfer updates then end with a match preview ahead of the Leeds game on Tuesday. Do follow me for more NUFC content and let’s get into it..
So first up, the Aston Villa game.. I can’t say I was surprised with how we played. We’re in a rut, now we’re without a win in 10 matches. Everyday I wake up checking updates expecting Steve Bruce to be sacked. As it stands, he’s still our manager and until he is sacked we can expect dire displays week in week out. It’s almost impossible to improve under the current circumstances. So, I’ll briefly go through my problems with the Aston Villa game..
Firstly, anyone watching, Newcastle fans or not, would have said from the minute we started playing- where is the direction? Setting up five at the back and STILL failing to effectively defend is simply a set up without a plan and that’s the most destructive thing these days for us. Another thing that was obvious from the get go was the lack of drive and desire from the players that then evolved into a state of surrender almost. Their body language said it all, they’d given up. Even though Newcastle came out in the second half a little more lively, they just looked unable to create anything at all; just ONE shot on target! Just one. Aston Villa made five. Now moving on to individuals, Jonjo Shelvey failed to block Targett’s cross which resulted in Ollie Watkins taking the lead. In the past I’ve defended his work rate because he does make touches but ultimately the end up aimless. They don’t result in any contribution whatsoever. As for Jeff Hendrick- his involvement was zero. No one really stood out at all, Karl Darlow even made mistakes, he is human after all haha. I’m not going to criticise him because he’s under immense pressure every single game to single handedly keep the team in it. I feel like he’s easily one of the best goalkeepers in the league but he didn’t have his best game and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dubravka play on Tuesday against Leeds. It could be the perfect time to get Dubravka back starting after his injury. In the last twenty mins when Allan Saint Maximin and Ryan Fraser came on I was happy to see a fresh set of legs in Fraser but he looked far from being able to create something. As for Allan Saint Maximin, I am happy at his premature return from his Covid recovery but he wasn’t going to be our match winner against Aston Villa was he? Overall, it was a pitiful performance. No quality, no hope. I am at my wits end! What were your thoughts on the Aston Villa game? Let me know below.
Let’s move on! Some big news came out this weekend, Rafa Benitez left the club he’s managing in China. There are reports he’s keen to get back to working in Europe again, more specifically English football. I just filmed a Q&A video and someone asked me whether I think Rafa would consider returning to Newcastle. My answer is no. I would like nothing more than for him to return to us but it’s a very complex situation. Rafa knows we as fans have the utmost respect for him but the circumstances in which he left were serious. Afterwards, he detailed the unfulfilled promises from the board and how his new contract didn’t align with the ambitions and goals he had to invest in our academy and he essentially had to leave because of “lack of trust rather than the money side of things”. Right now Mike Ashley is still trying to sell the club whilst taking legal action against the Premier League over the failed takeover. So, it’s a messy time for our club and moreover, Rafa wouldn’t come back whilst Mike Ashley still owns it. There were humiliating public spats between Rafa and the board when he left. If Mike Ashley sells, Steve Bruce is sacked, the takeover goes through- would I expect Rafa back? Potentially, yes. However, I don’t really have expectations like that right now. This summer was a rollercoaster of a ride as a Newcastle fan with the the potential takeover and how it all fell through. I wish Rafa all the best but I really would preferred his departure from China to come at a time when Mike Ashley has changed hands with a new owner. What is likely to happen now is- Rafa will be in demand, by a club with big ambitions and a high regard for that level of experience. Newcastle will continue battling out a failed takeover and we will be with a manager who cannot take us where we deserve to be as a club. It’s a sad state of affairs. Let’s move onto transfer talk…
So, I’ve gone into detail on Newcastle’s transfer targets recently- you can watch those videos on my YouTube channel. Since my last weekly update I can’t say there are any solid developments on the transfer window front. We know that a huge chunk was spent in the summer, we have no funds, we’re yet to shift any deadwood, so our scouting team are eyeing up loan deals. I feel like finalising those deals would give the team a confidence boost right now that’d be helpful but it appears that the club are waiting until the final days of the transfer window to put pen to paper.
One deal that was done this week was for Ciaran Clark. He’s signed a new two-year deal at Newcastle. I think to have someone with his experience in the team is always going to be positive. He can be solid and versatile after coming back from injury, I’d say he’s been one of our better players this season despite the demoralising environment he’s been playing in. I do feel he’s underrated at times so it’s a thoroughly deserved new deal in my opinion.
Now a quick word on NUFC’s next game which is on Tuesday against Leeds. After the last time these two sides met, Newcastle United came away humiliated with a 5–2 loss. I can’t say I’m looking forward to it. Leeds have lost their last three without scoring a goal but that’s nowhere near as poor as our run of form. If we lose this one we will be without a win in eleven matches. I can’t process how it’s come to this with the quality we have on paper. Yes, I’m not delusional, our team sheet isn’t filled with world-class big money names, we’ve had injuries, a covid outbreak, all sorts… BUT to go TEN games without a win! It’s truly dreadful. I do feel we have a decent amount of players with the potential to challenge other teams. Without direction it’s evidently, useless. The way we struggled against Leeds in December I am not expecting a win. Given the fact that Callum Wilson is starved of service and he’s now gone six full games without finding the net is worrying. Our goals are unlikely to come from anyone else. Although Leeds haven’t been on flying form in recent days, their last three league results have been win, loss, loss. The thing is with Leeds, they know how to find the back of the net and they’re up against a deflated Newcastle squad, our defence is shaky, disorganised as I mentioned, our key driving force going forward is Callum Wilson alone and I don’t see him being able to turn things around especially against such a dynamic, attacking side like Leeds..
The team morale is low, I feel like the whole of english football is watching us put out lacklustre performances every week and Leeds will need to just replicate what they did a few weeks ago to take advantage of that. We made it easy for them. Five conceded goals still haunts me. I’m not looking forward to this fixture at all. I would like to see Martin Dubravka play. He looked positive against Arsenal. What do you reckon? What are your expectations? I’ll finish my weekly update there. Apologies for the negative vibe but the club are in a rut right now can’t be downplayed in anyway. We could be on the gradual decline if nothing changes and I am worried about that. Thanks a lot for reading.. I hope you enjoyed it, if you did, do share it and follow me for more.