Newcastle fell to another defeat, this time at the hands of Arsenal. In what was not just a strange game but also a strange atmosphere, the Gunners ran out 2-1 winners. The discontent at Newcastle is there for all to see, the club is in a poor state, that all boils down to one person - Mike Ashley.
The Magpies were the better side in what was a scrappy first half, the second half was quite the opposite. Surprisingly Isaac Hayden was selected to start against his former club, the former Arsenal man looked disinterested from the moment the whistle blew to begin the game. Hayden, who had handed in a transfer request during the summer due to family reasons, performed like a player who quite simply had no love for the club. If Newcastle are to kick start their season, players need to be putting the effort in. Under Benitez, Newcastle have built a side that genuinely care for the club. However, when players start to disrupt that sense of unity, it’s time to act. Hayden should not be anywhere near the side if his hear isn’t in it.
There were very few bright sparks for Newcastle yesterday, though Frederico Fernandez was a shining light in a dull performance. Despite being at fault for the first goal, the former Napoli man was calm and assured. Fernandez provided a fantastic cross for Ciaran Clark’s late consolation goal. Fernandez and Jamaal Lascelles will form a solid partnership in the heart of the defence this season, a partnership that will be key to Newcastle’s survival.
Another cause for concern is the form of on loan Chelsea midfielder, Kenedy. The Brazilian has had a poor start to the campaign, coming off the bench against Arsenal, Kenedy failed to make a good impression. The midfielder’s corners never beat the first man, unfortunately his attitude was not right. During the week Kenedy gave an interview stating his desire to succeed at Chelsea, he did little to suggest that could be an option.
With protests against the owner deservedly ongoing, the atmosphere has suffered this season. That is not the fault of the fans by any means, as Ashley’s lack of interest over the past 11 years has sucked the soul from this great club. Rafael Benitez is in his final year of his contract, the fans do not have much to celebrate right now. Ashley, if he is in fact a good businessman, would give Benitez exactly what he wants. That is the only way the club will move forward, Benitez is vital. Without the Spaniard, Newcastle are likely to drop back into the Championship. A club of Newcastle’s size should not be flirting with relegation regularly, sadly that has been the impact of the Ashley era.
It is increasingly difficult for the fans to get behind the team, when there does not appear to be much hope. A hope of better times, in recent seasons with Benitez’s arrival and his decision to stay has put fire back in the supporters’ stomachs. Now though, Newcastle United seem like a club unsure of which direction to go, due to the guidance of a blind and clueless owner.
Newcastle have had a very tough start to the season in terms of how the fixtures have fallen, however, the mood inside St James’ Park yesterday was a real cause for concern. The supporters must stick together, Ashley is the problem, every single supporter acknowledges that. Instead of supporters turning on one-another they must take that fight to Ashley, get behind The Magpie Group, they are trying to change things for the better.
Newcastle fans have around eight months to do all they can to rid the club of the cancer that is Mike Ashley. When eight months has past by and Ashley is still the owner of the club, Benitez will certainly not remain in charge.