Three unsung heroes from NUFC’s recent rise to 10th

Rafa Bentiez and this group of Newcastle players continued their incredible form with a superb comeback win over Arsenal at the weekend. Unbelievably, we sit in the top half and within two points of 8th place. Rafa has worked wonders with this squad; who knows what we could achieve if he received genuine financial backing.

Along with the manager, the likes of Lascelles, Diame and Shelvey have quite rightly drawn praise from the media and fans alike. They have been outstanding recently and key to our rise up the table and to safety. However, there are also three other players who deserve a special mention. After all, you get the sense that it is our squad unity that has got us into this position; one which we would have all grabbed if offered back at the start of the campaign.

Ayoze Perez

The Spaniard has been a revelation in recent weeks after a slow start to the season. He has scored 3 goals in his last 3 games and also has 3 assists in his last six games as well. We all know that end product has been his Achilles heel but he does have a good habit of scoring important goals; winners against Stoke and Huddersfield spring to mind this season.

His work rate, attitude and application have never been questioned during his time with us and it is nice to see him playing so well. Until we sign a quality number 10 (hopefully this summer) I have always felt, with the players we have currently, Perez made us a better team even if he doesn’t play well offensively. His work rate and movement always cause problems, even if his touch can be frustrating. There is a nice stat this season that backs this up.



When Perez has started in the Premier league this season:

Played 21 – Won 8, Drawn 7, Lost 6 (Points per game 1.48)

When he doesn’t start:

Played 10, Won 1, Drawn 1, Lost 8 (Points per game 0.4)

Matt Ritchie

Ritchie shone last year in the Championship and like Perez, has outstanding work rate and application on the pitch. He has struggled to have the same impact in the Premier League and the higher level has meant he has often lacked that pace to get past his man or make something happen from nothing.

But he has come into form at just the right time; his winner against Manchester United has launched our season and break away from the bottom three. He now has 3 goals in his last 4 games and has been a key part of us winning four games at St.James’ on the bounce. He remains a fan favourite and it is nice to see him getting the rewards for his hard work.

Florian Lejeune

A bad injury from a poor Harry Kane tackle on the opening day halted his progress this season but after a run in the team, the presence of Lejeune has paid dividends. Clark did a good job for us last year but Lejeune looks a cut above and has formed a solid partnership with skipper Lascelles. We always look solid at the back and can’t think of a time we have been rolled over this season or collapsed.

We have three clean sheets in our last four at home with us now having a settled side. Spanish pundits had said he would prove to be an excellent capture from Eibar and he has enjoyed a great first season in the Premier League. He is strong, good in the air and also has nice distribution – his ball for our second goal at Leicester was excellent and he pinged some incredible 60-yard passes in behind for Gayle on Sunday.

Diame, Dummett, Shelvey, Lascelles and Kenedy have taken the headlines in recent weeks, but I feel these three deserved a special mention.

Which players do you think deserve the most credit for our recent form?

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

About Simon Riddlesden

Lifelong Newcastle United fan and East Stand season ticket holder. Observations from a supporter who has followed NUFC during Champions League participation and through relegation, taking me from Milan to Scunthorpe.

52 thoughts on “Three unsung heroes from NUFC’s recent rise to 10th

  1. Not sure those three particularly deserve a special mention. Seems to me as soon as Rafa started playing his best 11 then things automatically clicked. Week after week they all know exactly what they should be doing and there’s a massive improvement in game management.
    The big problem that will remain beyond this season is lack of quality in the back up players. Take out, for example, Shelvey or Lascelles which will happen at some point, then the introduction of Merino and Clark brings a great drop in team quality. Kenedy replaced by Murphy? Diame by Hayden?

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  2. I think we should leave it now Stuart. We both know each others’ point of view. If I saw a drowning man I would probably jump in and help them. You would stand on the beach and ask why they didn’t learn how to swim when they were a kid.

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  3. I think a big part of our upturn in fortunes was getting in Dubravka and Kennedy who have really added much needed quality. As much as the three you mention have given it their all the afore mentioned players have made a huge difference.
    Georgio makes a valid point also in that our depth in squad is not good enough, Ashley simply has to invest in the summer or we will suffer.

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  4. i think since xmas that the whole team put a good shift in its just some players are a better quality than others so maybe some stand out a bit more but i think that applys to most teams

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  5. scum have saved themselves some money,Gibson has been done for a few motoring offences so scum have ripped his contract up.

    Zaha is leaving C/P at end of season bloody £50 mil but their not saying to where??

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  6. icedog:
    scum have saved themselves some money,Gibson has been done for a few motoring offences so scum have ripped his contract up.

    Zaha is leaving C/P at end of season bloody £50 mil but their not saying to where??

    They just need to have Peytar Reed take Jack Rodwell out for a few bevvies and have him drive home and they might not go into administration.

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  7. Eric Sykes: They just need to have Peytar Reed take Jack Rodwell out for a few bevvies and have him drive home and they might not go into administration.

    Please don’t anybody tell me that drunk driving is bad. I know it is.

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  8. Everton have bought 9 players for more than 20 million this season. Just let us win against the Big Fat Chewing Gum with Mouth Open Toad.

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  9. Seriously. Everton have bought 9 players for more than 20 million! Rafa is off to Arsenal or perhaps Everton if we don’t spend 20 million each for Kenedy and Slimani. Maybe Stuart can kick in a couple of quid. They are immigrants though, so I doubt it.

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  10. Eric a contact that I have in politics,a high level right wing aide, informed me that major funding behind the Brexit campaign was to prevent Britain from being obliged to implement the EU anti tax haven legislation. God forbid that billionaires should have to pay tax.

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  11. Good season though.

    Hughton keeping Brighton up.

    Of course, us staying up.

    Jose doubling down on misery. He’s not really bought into Man U if he stays in the Lowry Hotel!

    A very entertaining Liverpool in the CL semi-final.

    Pards failing, as usual.

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  12. I always thought Thatcher was a strange woman.

    She came out of the womb with that hairdo.

    Sucked Ronald Reagan’s dick when it had gone limp a decade before.

    Was permanently miserable.

    Looked like she was 60 when she was 20. Only Dennis could have hit that. It was either her or a Vietnamese brothel for him.

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  13. The amazing thing is that Maggie and Dennis had 2 children from the only times they had sex. There is absolutely no way they had sex more than twice so it is a miracle that Mark and Carol are here. Thank you Jesus.

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  14. Do you want the blindfold tonight Dennis or should it be both of us? Both please! It is not that they were after kinky. They were both just so ugly. Again, Carver would have made the perfect threesome.

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  15. Dennis and Maggie go on a blind date. Simultaneously say, FFS send me a raven to peck out my eyeballs. Anything is better than looking at this monster.

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  16. Mark and Carol Thatcher are twins. That makes sense now. So Dennis and Maggie only fcked the once.

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  17. Eric, younwill have to reconvene your Thatcher love fest on Monday. I’m off to Marbella playing golf now.

    Adios

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  18. Stuart79:
    Eric, younwill have to reconvene your Thatcher love fest on Monday. I’m off to Marbella playing golf now.

    Adios

    Staying at Big Fat Sam’s villa are you?

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  19. The anonymous nature of sites like these is fun. Stuart could be a trolley pusher at Tesco for all we know and Eric, far from being in Chicago, could live in Byker.
    Only one of them is right about Thatcher though 😀

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  20. georgio:
    The anonymous nature of sites like these is fun. Stuart could be a trolley pusher at Tesco for all we know and Eric, far from being in Chicago, could live in Byker.
    Only one of them is right about Thatcher though

    Yes but don’t tell Eric you like Thatcher too, georgio. 😂

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  21. georgio:
    The anonymous nature of sites like these is fun. Stuart could be a trolley pusher at Tesco for all we know and Eric, far from being in Chicago, could live in Byker.
    Only one of them is right about Thatcher though

    I think some of the stuff I said on the Thatchers is backed up by facts. Mark Thatcher was an arms dealer. In a poll for Cosmopolitan Magazine their readers did vote Dennis Thatcher the ugliest man alive, with an unprecedented 110% of the vote. Only footballers had been able to claim 110% previously. And Maggie did have the same hairdo from when she was 16. There is a vast photographic archive of it. I am not sure if she came out of the womb like that but I have my suspicions about her being an alien or some sort of devil creature anyway.

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  22. I had never seen that William Hague clip before I typed in “Tory Boy” to Youtube. It has finally settled the Nature vs Nurture debate because he was born a fully formed Tory. It is also funny to see the Conference audience. So white, so middle aged, so Mary Whitehouse. Of course, they used to be known as Daily Mail readers but I think you have to buy that paper from under the counter at Newsagents now as all it has is pictures of Kim Kardashian’s ass and footballer’s WAGs cleavage.

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  23. Do we want Shelvey to go to the World Cup? Any wayward pass and the pundits will be all over him. They have their favourites like Wilshere, Rooney and Welbeck and it doesn’t matter how crap they play they stick with them.

    And being backup to Jordan Henderson is more of an insult than an honour.

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  24. In Brasil you get recognition as a great talent by having only one name – Pele, Zico etc. Now in England the commentators want to say both names – Harry Kane, Dele Alli. Why is this? Does Kenedy actually have a first name? or is Kenedy his first name, I am not sure. The only Brazilian I hear with 2 names is Fat Ronaldo.

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  25. Stuart79: Yes but don’t tell Eric you like Thatcher too, georgio.

    Stuart lives somewhere in the home counties. Judging by some of the stuff he has being saying lately I think his real name is Nigel Ferage.

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  26. Watching a rerun of Spurs/Man City and John Moss cannot keep up with play. He just gave a penalty that was outside the box because he was 20 yards away. He is probably about 2 stone overweight. It should also have been a red card but he was too far away to see it. They must have fitness tests for Refs and I have no idea how he passes. Same with Mike Dean and Kevin Friend.

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  27. Then about 5 minutes later he is about 35 yards behind the play as Sanchez goes flying into Sane. It wasn’t a foul but how would he know from that far away. I think even Jack Wilshere could beat him in a foot race.

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  28. I’ve wondered for a while now why nufc fans get so upset about shelvey and lascelles not being selected for England.

    So while itd be good to see them selected in a “I’m pleased for them if that’s their ambition ” sense, from a future look for nufc I’m in two minds.

    Play a scenario of them doing well.

    This leads to them feeling a little more valued so how about ” hey gaffer can I have a raise coz I’m England standard now”. Newcastle then have an inflated wage bill or potential for a player to be unsettled and look for a pay deal elsewhere.

    Obviously there’s a whole bunch of ifs buts and maybes but that scenario doesn’t seem too unlikely

    Not sure where the upside is for nufc if either are selected

    Oh and btw I wouldn’t blame them for asking for a pay rise .. I would

    .

    Eric Sykes:
    Do we want Shelvey to go to the World Cup? Any wayward pass and the pundits will be all over him. They have their favourites like Wilshere, Rooney and Welbeck and it doesn’t matter how crap they play they stick with them.

    And being backup to Jordan Henderson is more of an insult than an honour.

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  29. Glosmag: England only pick Spurs, Liverpool and Manchester players anyway so we have nothing to worry about 🙂 I am sort of OK with that at the minute since they all play in a similar style.

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  30. Haha .. that works for me .. I didn’t want to Witter about how little I care about the England football team

    Eric Sykes:
    Glosmag: England only pick Spurs, Liverpool and Manchester players anyway so we have nothing to worry about I am sort of OK with that at the minute since they all play in a similar style.

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  31. Glosmag: you should not worry about wittering on. I am the King of wittering on. My right honorable friend should refer to my previous Thatcher rants.

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  32. The only flaw in the argument re Shelvey and Lascelles , is that if they keep getting overlooked they may feel the need to go place elsewhere to better their selection chances.

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  33. kimtoon:
    The only flaw in the argument re Shelvey and Lascelles , is that if they keep getting overlooked they may feel the need to go place elsewhere to better their selection chances.

    Haha .. Fair point.

    Seems like we could be fooked whatever happens 🙄 .. maybe time to Enjoy the moment and not worry too much?

    Still don’t care too much about England tho

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  34. I’ve seen England play Glos – does anyone care about them apart from Daily Mail readers and fans of The Proms.

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