After Wednesday’s League Cup loss to Championship side Nottingham Forest, Newcastle are spiralling towards a crisis, and there isn’t a lot manager Rafa Benítez can do about it.
The Magpies were poor on Wednesday, only managing one shot on target, as a team that is thirteenth in the league below them smashed them 3-1. The Tyneside club’s season at risk of coming off the rails, and something needs to change.
A lot of fans sympathise with manager Benítez, based on the funds that he is given by owner Mike Ashley and his limited resources, but losses like this are inexcusable. The trouble is, the Spanish manager doesn’t really have the defence that he played a weaker side. Of course some youngsters played, like Sean Longstaff and Jamie Sterry, as well as a debut to Yoshinori Muto, and Jonjo Shelvey and Jamaal Lascelles were injured, but on the whole it was a side full of players that have started for Newcastle at some point this season.
Likewise, Nottingham Forest manager Aitor Karanka fielded a few players that weren’t regulars. So it was just a case of the Forest players outperforming Newcastle- as simple as that.
What must be worrying is that Newcastle don’t really have any new players to call upon. They aren’t particularly ravaged by injury, they haven’t made many new signings waiting to appear, and they haven’t got a swathe of young players waiting to break through. There are young players like Cal Roberts waiting to feature that could make and impact, but he is still an unknown quantity in the Premier League.
A lot of the onus is on Benítez now, to see what he can get out of his team. After all, this is a side that he guided to tenth place last season, so they obviously have the potential.
Unfortunately, the last thing a club in turmoil want in a time like this is to travel to the Etihad Stadium to face high flying Man City at the weekend. It then doesn’t get much easier as The Magpies host Arsenal at St James’ Park in the next fixture.
These seem like dark times for Newcastle fans, which is why they must be grateful for a manager with a CV like Benítez does. But it’s important the manager uses all the experience he has, as he faces a monumental task.