One of the main reasons for Rafa Benitez’s tactics against Chelsea was due to the lack of creative players available to him in the squad.
With Jonjo Shelvey out injured and Kenedy ineligible to play against his parent club, the manager had very few options in order to play a more expansive game.
One idea could be to look at the free transfer market for possible solutions. The Chronicle suggested a number of possibilities in an article last week, but one name stood out for many: former player Hatem Ben Arfa. When I polled fans whether they’d like to see the Frenchman return to St James’ Park, nearly three-quarters of you said it would be a good idea:
I’m not so sure myself. One of the factors that would make the 31-year-old’s return unlikely would be his poor work rate and attitude. For Rafa, these characteristics are prerequisites and it’s difficult to see the playmaker tracking back like he would be required to.
Still, he would certainly improve our attacking play. We need to score more goals and he would offer a credible threat to opponents in the final third.