Seven days is long time in United’s world

Newcastle 2 Bournemouth 1

Sunday Sun - - Football - Chris Waugh Newcastle Re­porter chris.waugh@reach­plc.com

SALOMON Rondon in­spired Newcastle United to their sec­ond suc­ces­sive Premier League vic­tory as the No 9 scored a brace at St James’ Park dur­ing a 2-1 vic­tory over Bournemouth.

In an en­ter­tain­ing en­counter on Ty­ne­side, the Mag­pies for­ward net­ted his first St James’ Park strikes dur­ing the first half to give the home side a two-goal lead.

Jef­fer­son Lerma pulled one back for the vis­i­tors just be­fore the break, but Newcastle held on to claim a pre­cious three points which lifts them up into lower mid-ta­ble.

Here, NUFC Writer Chris Waugh takes us through what we learned from an­other hugely sig­nif­i­cant af­ter­noon for the Mag­pies.

In the build-up to this game, the striker who was grab­bing the head­lines was Bournemouth’s Cal­lum Wil­son as he cel­e­brated his Eng­land callup fol­low­ing a won­der­ful start to the cam­paign.

Yet it was Newcastle’s No 9 Rondon who was the star of this match, scor­ing twice dur­ing the first half and seem­ingly vin­di­cat­ing Ben­itez’s de­ci­sion to pur­sue the Venezue­lan as his No 1 striker tar­get dur­ing the sum­mer win­dow.

There are some within the Newcastle hi­er­ar­chy who sim­ply did not want to re­cruit Rondon – and that is why Ben­itez was only de­liv­ered the 29-yearold on a sea­son-long loan deal which also saw Dwight Gayle de­part for the cam­paign, too.

Yet Ben­itez was adamant Rondon was the striker who could ex­cel in his pre­ferred 4-2-3-1 for­ma­tion – given tht he is a pow­er­ful tar­get-man fig­ure who can bring his team-mates into play.

With Rondon hav­ing only man­aged six Premier League ap­pear­ances so far this sea­son be­fore this game due to in­jury is­sues, eye­brows were be­ing raised across Ty­ne­side as to whether Ben­itez had made a mis­take in bring­ing the Venezue­lan to the North East.

Yet it took just seven min­utes for Rondon to open his St James’ Park ac­count by net­ting his first Premier RAFA Ben­itez looked con­flicted on the touch­line on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

The Newcastle United man­ager was un­doubt­edly de­lighted to see his side lead against AFC Bournemouth – but the pre-match game­plan which the Spa­niard had come up with did not ap­pear to be play­ing out as he had hoped.

For a man­ager as prag­matic as Ben­itez, the sight of 32 shots be­ing pep­pered at both goals – with 14 of those for the away side – will have been tan­ta­mount to tor­ture for him.

Struc­ture is ev­ery­thing to Ben­itez; League goal for Newcastle.

Mo Di­ame played DeAn­dre Yedlin in down the right, he cen­tred low to Rondon, whose first at­tempt was well saved by As­mir Be­govic. But, on the re­bound, Rondon tucked the ball un­der­neath the Bournemouth goal­keeper.

Yet the striker’s sec­ond was the pick of the goals – and it was scored in trade­mark Rondon style.

Ki Sung-yueng switched play from right to left, Kenedy whipped a de­li­cious cross to the front post, where Rondon pow­ered an un­stop­pable header into the top right-hand cor­ner of the net.

Dur­ing the sec­ond pe­riod, Rondon had two op­por­tu­ni­ties to grab a hat­trick, but his gen­eral all-round that is why United more of­ten than not adopt a 4-2-3-1 for­ma­tion, and why he so fre­quently cites his ‘short blan­ket’ anal­ogy when dis­cussing his team.

Open matches bring with them in­creased risk – and Ben­itez is not a man­ager who likes to leave any­thing to chance.

But Bournemouth ap­pear to thrive on chaos; Ed­die Howe’s side show am­bi­tion to play it from any­where and ev­ery­where, and they com­mit bod­ies for­ward in num­bers.

Newcastle were dragged into the dis­or­der at St James’ Park and, al­though it made for a mag­nif­i­cent spec­ta­cle for the neu­tral, it is not some­thing which Ben­itez will want to be re­peated on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

Rarely have United fans been treated to such an ex­cit­ing, end-toend game in re­cent sea­sons; cer­tainly not since pro­mo­tion back to the Premier League have Newcastle been in­volved in such a fren­zied af­fair on Ty­ne­side.

It is tes­ta­ment to Ben­itez – who tried to ex­ert some con­trol over the bed­lam which was un­fold­ing in front of his eyes by shift­ing to a five­man de­fence, and by in­tro­duc­ing three sec­ond-half sub­sti­tutes who were not like for like as his re­place­ments so of­ten are – and to the Newcastle play­ers that they held off the Cher­ries’ fight­back.

Luck played its part for the sec­ond week in suc­ces­sion – Bournemouth, like Watford, were waste­ful in front of goal – but United once again dis­played the heart, de­sire and de­ter­mi­na­tion to see this game through.

That was thanks in no small part to man-of-the-match Salomon Rondon’s ex­em­plary all-round dis­play.

Fabian Schar heads the ball clear for UnitedSalomon Rondon cel­e­brates scor­ing the sec­ond goal

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