Paul Merson believes Salomon Rondon will be the difference between survival and relegation this season – with the Sky pundit left very impressed by his ‘phenomenal’ performance on Saturday.
He may have had a slow start to life at St James’ Park, but his display over the weekend really did do the number 9 shirt justice. I don’t think I’ve seen such a complete centre-forward performance from a NUFC striker since the days of Demba Ba – with him not only scoring twice, but linking the play, making good runs and working tirelessly on and off the ball.
Merson also described Dubravka as ‘outstanding’ and praised our game management while protecting our lead in the second half, however he seemed particularly impressed by Rondon – and I don’t blame him!
Here’s what the Sky pundit said when asked if Rondon would be the difference between us going down or staying up:
“100 per cent.”
“Rondon got two goals. The second one was a phenomenal header. It was a proper number nine’s header. They have had their fair share of number nines up at Newcastle and it was worthy of one of those guys.
“The longer the game went on, even though they say he is not fit, he holds the ball up, he is a presence. He was always lively and nearly had his hat-trick.”
I don’t say this often, but Merson is probably bang on here.
We often lack goals and attacking threat, and Rondon gave us both on Saturday. Not only that, his hold up play was immense, with his work really giving us a platform to build on in attack.
Let’s hope he can keep it up!