In the home fixture against Chelsea, Newcastle United enjoyed just 19% of the possession.
Rafael Benitez set up his stall to frustrate Chelsea and deny them scoring chances.
For the football purists, it didn’t provide the free-flowing game they wanted and expected.
Some might say that on the basis of the tactics Benitez deployed, Newcastle got exactly what they deserved, nothing.
But, was the choice of tactics something Benitez had to do or was he being too cautious?
For seventy-six minutes the tactics appeared to be working fine, Chelsea had created very few chances but then again neither had Newcastle.
In fact, Newcastle rarely got into Chelsea’s half to even threaten to engineer a chance.
But, after falling behind to a very dubious penalty decision, Rafa knew he had to change matters and deploy his plan B.
Plan B immediately worked with Joselu heading home a cross from Yedlin, suddenly Chelsea looked defensively dodgy, which makes we wonder how Newcastle had of gotten on If they’d deployed plan B from the off.
Okay, we may have got beaten with Chelsea’s talented players counter-attacking at speed, but at least we’d have given it a go.
Instead, we started a home game aiming to keep what we started with, a point, which, to me, is a disappointing approach.
After the game, Rafa tried to justify his choice of tactics by remarking to Sky Sports:
“The penalty was soft. The foul was soft, for the free-kick for the winner. It’s a pity because we were very close. We knew playing open against them, with their ability, they can beat players. I think we did a good job, and it’s a pity to lose this way.”
It perhaps was but I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that I’d have preferred our boys to have had a real go at Chelsea and lose that way.
How about you?
What are your views on the tactics employed by the gaffer today?
Please feel free to drop your views into the comments facility beneath this article.