Newcastle United

Rafa Benitez has ensured Newcastle’s survival with £810k-rated January signing

The Toon Army were celebrating long into the night in the Transfer Tavern on Sunday evening after they watched their side record a priceless victory in their bid for survival this season.

Newcastle United recorded added a huge 3 points to their tally for the Premier League season so far on Sunday afternoon after recording a 1-0 victory over Manchester United at St James’ Park. Jonjo Shelvey clipped in a floated free-kick in the 65th minute which eventually found its way to Dwight Gayle in the danger zone, and the hard-working striker found a way to knock the ball in the direction of Matt Ritchie who made no mistake in slamming his effort beyond a sprawling David De Gea.

It was a tense finale in the North-East, but The Magpies eventually held on to claim a priceless victory in their battle to beat the drop. In the aftermath of proceedings, the Newcastle supporters were quick to heap praise among plenty of individuals such as Jonjo Shelvey, Mo Diame and Jamal Lascelles, but the performance of debutant goalkeeper Martin Dubravka (valued at £810k by Transfermarkt) was arguably the most influential of the afternoon.

Rafa Benitez brought the Slovakian international to the club on deadline day in January in a short-term loan deal from Sparta Prague, and very little was known about him when he was announced on the team-sheet for Newcastle’s clash with the Red Devils on Sunday.

However, Newcastle’s new goalkeeper wasted no time in making an impression on the supporters, as his debut performance was an instrumental factor in their victory. Dubravka proved he was able to stand tall and make a crucial save in the first-half when he got the better of Martial in a one vs one situation, but his goalkeeping abilities went much further than shot-stopping.

Dubravka took the pressure off his defenders all afternoon with his confidence in stepping off his line to collect floated balls into the box whether through open play or from a set-piece.

The Slovakian’s arrival was rather overshadowed by that of Islam Slimani, but on the evidence of his debut performance, it appears Benitez may have pulled off a masterstroke in the transfer market which will ensure his side retain their Premier League status this season.

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