The English Premier League is the most competitive big league in the world, with many teams capable of making a run for the title, especially evident this year, what with Leicester City (!!!) located at the top spot of the table.
Newcastle United has never been a part of that discussion this year, as they are only one spot above bottom. Their season has been terrible despite the talent they have, especially with the signings they’ve made in the last two transfer windows.
Considering that, it’s puzzling why a heralded manager such as Rafa Benitez, a manager who has collected trophies with teams like Liverpool, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan, would join a sinking ship that’s almost completely submerged. With 10 games left to play, Benitez does have a decent chunk of time to gain some ground and snag some desperately needed points, but it’s a challenge that he doesn’t need to take on; leave it to a guy like David Moyes to clumsily grab the bull by the horns.
Rafa isn’t a man to back down to a challenge, though, which is why he was so quick to take on the job. Newcastle fans must be elated and relieved to know that they only need one win to gain ground on Norwich City and Sunderland, who both have 25 points, one more than Newcastle.
The next three games for Newcastle United are against Leicester City, Sunderland, and Norwich, and if they had to get results from any matches this season, it’s these three. They can help play spoiler to Leicester if they grab three points or even manage a draw, and consecutive wins against the teams directly above would do a lot to revive a team that is facing the cliff’s edge.
If Rafa Benitez can’t get the starting eleven to play winning football and they get dropped to the Championship, Benitez is free to leave, as he has a clause enabling him to abandon ship if it really does sink. He firmly believes that Newcastle will remain in top flight, and I think it would be wise to go along with what he says; with a trophy room like his, squeezing 6 points or so out of the next ten games should not be an issue.
Concerning his contract clause though, that’s a bridge we’ll cross later.