Widespread reports across the media suggest Rafa Benitez will be in charge of Newcastle United before too long.

The Spaniard, who has managed huge clubs Valencia, Liverpool, Chelsea, Napoli and Real Madrid, seems likely to take Steve McClaren’s job at St. James’ Park as the Magpies hope to stay in the Premier League.

His first game would come at the King Power Stadium on Monday evening, where Newcastle face Leicester City. The Foxes are five points clear at the top of the Premier League right now and eight ahead of Arsenal, but could Rafa stop them?

Naturally a defensive coach, Benitez is certainly an upgrade on McClaren and the players are sure to be boosted by his arrival. The ‘new manager bounce’ is often overstated, but Newcastle are genuinely upgrading from a poor manager to a proven one. Benitez will make the side more solid and we’ve already seen Leicester struggle to break down compact defences in recent weeks.

Their run in may not look the toughest, but the Foxes could struggle against sides you’d expect to lose to conventional title challengers.

Arsenal are in an FA Cup quarter-final against Watford on Sunday but, by the time our next Premier League fixture comes around in just over a week, we may have been thrown a lifeline in the title race.

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