With the future of Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez still very much up in the air – despite the Spaniard recently indicating he would be happy to remain on Tyneside beyond the expiration of his current contract in the summer – the club’s fans will take all the good news they can get at this stage. After a decent, albeit underwhelming, season now all but finished the sight of seeing one of your own players controlling a game and capping it all off with a hattrick is a beautiful one to behold. That is exactly what 25-year-old Spaniard Ayoze Perez delivered during the Magpies’ home game against Southampton last weekend, scoring all three goals in the 3-1 win which secured the Tynesiders’ Premier League survival.
Perhaps last week, he went too far, but the unbounded determination that Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles shows on a daily basis is has done both him and the club the world of good since he signed. Rumours of a bust-up with Rafael Benitez before the defeat against Chelsea have sinice been elaborated on; not only may that have contributed to his absence last week, but it could have even spread to a physical confrontation with teammate Matt Ritchie.
Newcastle may have had their ups and downs in recent years, but generally things seem to have been going well on Tyneside lately. After returning to the Premier League at the first time of asking in 2017 by winning the Championship title, the club solidified their top-flight presence with a good 10th placed finish. Having retained the services of popular manager Rafa Benitez, the club have seemed to be back in the ascendancy – and have continued their rise despite possessing what many called a “Championship team”. There have been cracks slowly emerging over the course of the summer, however, and nowadays the fog on the Tyne seems to be descending once again as the club’s internal struggles bubble over into the public eye.