Newcastle United: Can Rafa Benitez enjoy #feelgoodfriday?

Rafa Benitez
Rafael Benitez has reason to be optimistic after taking over at Newcastle United

Why would anyone take the Newcastle job?

The club has problems from top to bottom, according to Magpies legend Alan Shearer.

Alan Shearer believes the 'whole club is a mess' at Newcastle United

They are stuck in the relegation zone - only Aston Villa have a worse record this season. And while they are just a point behind 17th-place Sunderland, there's a further eight-point gap to the next team, Swansea.

Newcastle are 19th in the Premier League

Oh, and there's only 10 games left. And the next one is away to table-topping workaholics Leicester.

But come on, it's #feelgoodfriday. So with that in mind, and with Rafael Benitez in place as their new manager, we've been thinking about the things Newcastle have going for them.

1. They are only a point behind Sunderland

One point. And they play their north-east rivals at home next week. What an opportunity!

2. They have last year's Dutch player of the year

Georginio Wijnaldum
Georginio Wijnaldum joined Newcastle in a £14.5m deal from PSV last summer

Georginio Wijnaldum captained PSV to their first title in years in the Netherlands last season. He's Newcastle's top scorer this season - nine goals in 22 appearances from midfield is decent. He scored against Brazil for the Dutch in the 2014 World Cup third place play-off. Now if Rafa can just get him firing consistently...

3. They have England internationals in their ranks

Andros Townsend (left) and Jonjo Shelvey
Andros Townsend (left) and Jonjo Shelvey both joined Newcastle in January

Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend didn't come cheap when they arrived on Tyneside in January and have been two of the better players recently. Now if Rafa can just get them firing consistently...

4. The board are willing to spend money

Many Newcastle fans have been critical of the board. OK, very critical of the board. But they have spent £83m since the end of last season and have pledged to continue forking out on players.

5. Benitez is a successful manager


The Spaniard has the seventh-best win rate in Premier League history, according to Opta.

6. He likes stripes

Rafa Benitez at Inter Milan
There he is, on the left

The last time Benitez managed a team that plays in stripes (Inter Milan) he won the Fifa Club World Cup - though he was sacked five days later.

7. He pulls off miracles

Rafa Benitez with Champions League trophy in 2005
Benitez has won a trophy with every club he has managed - apart from Real Madrid

Remember the 2005 Champions League final? A bold team selection saw Liverpool 3-0 down to AC Milan at half-time in Istanbul. What happened next? A bold fightback by Benitez's men is what happened, and Europe's premier trophy returned to Anfield for a fifth time.

Can he pull off another miracle on Tyneside?

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