Rafa Benitez is only focused on Newcastle after a few media outlets ran a rather curious story claiming Arsenal were considering him and Thierry Henry to take over from Arsene Wenger.
It didn’t seem to make much sense. Sure, Rafa is a good manager, but his star has faded somewhat and his style of football doesn’t tend to fit with the image Arsenal have carefully cultivated over the past 20 years under Wenger. He places priority on a balance between attack and defence, with the latter seen as the most important aspect. Wenger would play 11 attacking midfielders if he thought he could get away with it.
But it’s easy to forget that he has won 11 trophies across three countries, including a Champions League which has so far eluded Wenger, although he has fewer league titles than the Frenchman. And who could argue that the Gunners wouldn’t benefit from his tactical precision and defensive stability? Perhaps it’s not quite as crazy an idea as it seemed on the surface…just like the offers at Dealslands.co.uk.
With Newcastle United facing Norwich on Tuesday night, the Magpies manager was asked about the speculation. He had nothing of note to say about it. Perhaps, because there is nothing of note to the ‘story’?
“I’m the manager for Newcastle playing against Norwich and then the next games” Benitez said, giving the standard, stock answer to such speculation.
“That’s it, so I’m just focused on that.”
“As a manager you are used to have clubs talking and the media talking so what you have to do is just concentrate on your job.”
He was then asked if he thought this would be Wenger’s last season at the club. “I don’t know.
“I have a good relationship with him. I think he’s a good manager, and that he’s doing a great job, but that is not my concern.”
Newcastle drew 2-2 at Carrow Road in what was described as a ‘frenetic game.’
Ayoze Perez gave the visitors the lead after just 23 seconds. Norwich hit back with two goals in five minutes to take the lead and looked as if they might have done enough to claim the points. An 81st minute Jamaal Lascelles strike from a difficult angle, however, rescued a point for Rafa’s men – enough to keep them one point clear of Brighton at the top of the Championship. The Seagulls could only draw 1-1 at home to Ipswich. Chuba Akpom played the last nine minutes of the game for the hosts.
Newcastle have 66 points from 31 games, winning 21, losing 7 and drawing 3. Their goals scored (60) and conceded (25) are the best numbers in the division and they seem certain to make a quick return to the Premier League.