Newcastle United

Newcastle United: Rafa Benitez has St. James’ Park smiling again

Newcastle United: Rafa Benitez has St. James’ Park smiling again

When was the last time St. James’ Park was buzzing as it was on Saturday evening?

After watching Newcastle United pull off the most unbelievable comebacks against Everton, the Geordie faithful could feel the start of something special. It might’ve taken time for Rafa Benitez to get them running, but the inspired win shows he’s taken them the right way.

The Magpies’ poor defensive stature was proved in the first half when mistakes at the back allowed Everton to race into a 2-0 lead. However, instead of falling silent like they usually do, Newcastle decided to pounce on the front-foot. Even after Matt Ritchie missed a penalty, Benitez sensed the possibility of a stunning turnaround.

He drifted away from a 3-4-3 shape to a more traditional 4-4-2 formation by bringing in Paul Dummett for Jamaal Lascelles. This change in system worked wonders. Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon stuck close to each other, troubling Everton’s defenders with their link-up play and unpredictable movement.

The change in tactics allowed Newcastle to put more crosses into the box, which instantly pressurize Everton’s defence to crumble. Newcastle pulled off their first win after trailing 2-0 since the great Sir Bobby Robson’s days. On the day, Benitez must have hailed as highly as the legendary managers by fans.

After so many problems behind the scenes on Tyneside for years, the Spaniard’s finally gaining his magical touch at Newcastle. He’s got them on the rise and inserted a never-say-die attitude, which could get them far up in the Premier League in the final stretch.

Newcastle fans, do you think Benitez can help guarantee a top-half finish? Join the discussion by commenting below…

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