How will Rafa Benitez's Newcastle fare back in the Premier League?

Mike Holden by Mike Holden / 09 August 2017, 16:02

Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) looks at what we can expect from Rafa Benitez and Newcastle during the 2017/18 Premier League season.

Click here for the Premier League Sack Race

Background

It wasn’t quite the stroll many had predicted but Rafael Benitez delivered an instant return to the Premier League for Newcastle. They clinched automatic promotion with two games to spare, then gleefully accepted the title from Brighton with virtually the last kick of the season. The hard yards were done before November but there was a heavy dependence on the spine, with standards dropping whenever Ciaran Clark, Jonjo Shelvey or Dwight Gayle were unavailable. Jacob Murphy is the one eye-catching summer addition to date.

Personality

Benitez was an elite manager before Millennials began to dominate dressing rooms in the late 2000s, bringing with them a level of individualism and self-orientation that the Spaniard will never be comfortable with. To him, players are like pieces in a game of chess. Queens, rooks, bishops and knights should still know their place and make their move only when it’s time to move. Highly-introvert, he doesn’t really connect with players on a personal level but remains very astute whenever teams do buy into his philosophy.

Quote

"There was no holiday. I spent some time with my family in Liverpool – but that was it. All I can do is prepare the team properly for every game. I have to continue sending my players the right message and giving them confidence about what we are trying to do. We know what we need (in the transfer market) and we will try to do this until the end of the window. Whether we can get it all done or not, I'm not sure."

Verdict

The shorter 38-game schedule with more blank midweeks should suit Benitez more than the heavy slog that is a 46-game Championship season. And he should also welcome the extra capacity to be reactive rather than proactive from a tactical standpoint. Throw in the tempered expectations of the supporters and you have most of ingredients needed for a decent campaign. If Gayle, in particular, can stay injury-free, then a top-half finish isn’t out of the question. The start should be positive enough to ensure that relegation never crosses anyone’s mind.

Prediction: 12th

Rafa Benitez

sackrace

Managers Departed

Last man down

Michael Collins
Michael Collins
(Bradford City)
3rd September
VIEW ALL CASUALTIES

Premier League

Next Manager to Leave

Arsenal

Next Manager Odds

England

Next Manager Odds

Leicester City

Next Manager Odds

Manchester United

Next Manager Odds

Newcastle United

Next Manager Odds

Republic of Ireland

Next Manager Odds

Southampton

Next Manager Odds
x
New Customer Offer: 60/1 Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool & Spurs all to win

Coral are now offering new customers enhanced odds of 60/1 on Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Spurs all to win in this weekend.

18+ UK+IRE players signing up via promo page. Min deposit £5. Paypal & some deposit methods excl. Paid in cash at normal price. Enhanced odds paid in £5 free bets within 24 hrs, valid for 4 days, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.

BET HERE
We use cookies to provide statistics that help give you the best experience of our site. By continuing to use the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more
Got It