It’s been a tough start to the campaign for Rafa Benitez. His side have struggled for any kind of real quality in the Premier League, and have crashed out of the Carabao Cup. The Spanish boss will be hoping his side can turn things around as soon as possible.
Rafa Benitez may be a victim of his own success. His miracles on Tyneside last season led to a top-half finish, and perhaps elements of the Newcastle United support and the media expect him to repeat that feat next season. The reality is that with the budget restraints he is under, surviving relegation alone would be a good season for the ex-Real Madrid boss.
In the 2-1 loss against Chelsea, Newcastle United looked a side completely outclassed and unable to get a foothold in the game. Possession was a major issue for the Magpies, and it looked as if a relegation battle was more likely to happen, than a fight to finish in the top-half.
Mike Ashley’s tight purse-strings have caused Newcastle United to dip into the loan and free transfer markets this term. It seems one transfer Rafa really pinned his hopes on was the loan-signing of Kenedy from Chelsea. He looked massively impressive at St James’ Park last season, and Benitez is likely relying on Chelsea’s Brazilian for creativity.
So far this season Kenedy, who is valued at £9m by Transfermarkt, has been hugely underwhelming. He has looked half the player he did last season, and without his creative spark, Newcastle United have desperately struggled for goals. Considering hopes may have been pinned on him, if he doesn’t turn out to be the player the club hope he could be he could truly cost them a top-half finish this term.