In previous seasons we’ve seen players that just frustrate us. We question their mistakes and we scream at our TVs like it’s going to do anything. This season, things have been different, and there’s been a lot of reasons as to why the club is succeeding.
Looking at the squad, Benitez could change it all in a heartbeat. We have depth in strikers, keepers, midfield and defense, depth that we haven’t really seen in a while. Competition for places has always led to more motivated players, and a strong team.
Rafa Benitez has been doing just that, and he’s had success everywhere he’s been with it.
With both Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic as strikers, offense has never been stronger. And Ayoze Perez has an ability from midfield to make more forward runs to generate offense.
With Jonjo Shelvey facing a five-match ban due to racial misconduct, the midfield situation can be seen as a bit dire. But Shelvey has had a renaissance of form under Rafa Benitez and has proven time and again as to why he should be one of the first names on the team sheet.
Some defensive players have had injury woes, yet the club has overcome with strong performances from Jamaal Lascelles, Paul Dummett (who may find his name off the team sheet soon), DeAndre Yedlin, and even Grant Hanley. Defense has never been stronger though.
Each player on the team sheet has — in the eyes of Rafa Benitez — earned their spot on the first team squad. It’s why the club has had so much success. Nothing is given at Newcastle, everything is earned. And the victories have certainly been earned.