Newcastle United got only their second win of the season on Sunday.
Steve Bruce’s team winning thanks to an excellent 72nd minute winner from Matty Longstaff, a low quality game where neither goalkeeper otherwise had a serious save to make.
That goal from the 19 year old was the difference in ensuring Newcastle climbed out of the relegation zone ahead of the international break.
However, ESPN pundit Alejandro Moreno still thinks Newcastle United are heading for a third relegation in 11 Premier League seasons under Mike Ashley.
He puts up a number of reasons.
The fact that Rafa Benitez is no longer there.
Moreno says that despite fighting relegation the last two seasons ‘we all trusted Rafa Benitez to get them out of trouble’ both times.
I would agree with that but not his claim that under Rafa, Newcastle ‘did just enough’. Looking overall at the two seasons, each time Newcastle ended up 11 points clear of the drop zone, his expertise meaning the Spaniard had a plan to see a mid-table ending each time.
The ESPN pundit also points to Steve Bruce’s overly negative tactics, even against fellow relegation strugglers, such as we saw in the games against Norwich, Watford and Brighton.
Difficult to argue when Moreno declares ‘this team cannot create opportunities’ because it is a massive worry.
No team has managed less shots so far this season than Newcastle’s 76, whilst as for shots on target, only Sheff Utd (20) have had less than NUFC’s 20 (source – Premier League official site).
ESPN pundit Alejandro Moreno predicting Newcastle (as well as Norwich and Watford) to be relegated:
“I am tipping Newcastle to get relegated, simply because of Rafa Benitez.
“They were the same team around the current standing for the last few years and we all trusted Rafa Benitez to get them out of trouble…and he did.
“They did just enough to get themselves out of trouble every time but now he is gone and so I think they will go down.
“They showed the spirit to beat Manchester United but that spirit alone is not enough to keep you in the division.
“You have to have a little bit more than that and this team cannot create chances, they will defend but they cannot create chances.
“They even play defensive against teams that are in the same category (of relegation strugglers).
“They will drop off and withstand pressure, hope that they get a goal from somewhere…but there is too much hoping going on.”