Paul Merson has mocked Newcastle United’s start to the new season, claiming we are doing well if we get one clear cut chance all game – also feeling Rafa Benitez has done more harm than good by selling Aleksandar Mitrovic to Fulham.
Part of what Merson says here is not wrong – we are seriously struggling going forward at the moment – but he seems to be missing the bigger picture once again (something we address underneath his quotes below).
Here’s the Sky pundit’s sly dig at Rafa Benitez, suggesting he made the wrong call to let Aleksandar Mitrovic leave and mocking our inability to create chances:
“Don’t chop your nose off to spite your face.
“Mitrovic is coming back to haunt them at the moment.
“Fulham have a go wherever they go, they have a right go so you’re getting three or four chances a game, you’re not living on scraps.
“At Newcastle, if you get one clear cut chance you’ve had a result!”
Merson has probably answered the question for himself here. We don’t play an attacking brand of football. We don’t flood forward and create chance upon chance each game. We focus on being strong defensively, organised and staying him in games.
With this in mind, doesn’t this answer why we were never right for Mitrovic? He himself even admitted that he was not fit enough to do the running required in Benitez’s counter attacking team.
In contrast, Fulham may create plenty chances and play to Mitrovic’s strengths perfectly, but they concede for fun – with only bottom and second bottom Cardiff and Huddersfield letting in more goals in the opening six games so far this season.
The issue is not Benitez’s decision to sell Mitrovic (which was fair given the pair just didn’t suit each other), it was the decision to not reinvest that money on a proven goalscorer.