Newcastle United’s season has been flipped upside since the January transfer window slammed shut. Hope was in the air with the arrival of Islam slimani, however no Newcastle fan could’ve seen him not making his first appearance until the end of March.
Nobody expected Kenedy to do much, most expected him to come in and be cover for Paul Dummett and play when they went for five at the back. How wrong they all were. Kenedy has come in and arguably, become the Magpies’ best player since January. The young Brazillian has been exciting to watch, energetic, creative and confident.
These qualities are what have evaded Newcastle all season. They have players like Matt Ritchie who are good, hard working players, but he isn’t going to take on two or three defenders to get the team a chance. However that is what Kenedy has done, he wants to take every game by the horns and take control of it.
He is a young lad with no pressure on him, Rafa Benitez loves him so he will be given many chances if he has a bad game, however he doesn’t need these chances as he has become a fan favourite already.
The loanee will be a target for Benitez in the summer as he will try and make the move permanent I suspect and many Geordies will hope he makes his move to Tyneside permanent.
Although Kenedy has been the stand out signing of the season for Newcastle, Martin Dubravka has been nothing short of fantastic. Dubravka has come in with no fuss and just got on with his job.
For almost a year now Benitez has been trying to sign a ‘keeper and Newcastle fans had been confused as they thought they had two good enough stoppers in Karl Darlow and Rob Elliot.
However, Benitez had known for a long time that neither of the ‘keepers at his disposal were good enough, they were good shot stoppers, but not good with the ball at their feet or confident leaders. Dubravka is confident receiving the ball from his defenders and can find a black and white shirt from his goal kicks and throws.
If you go to a Newcastle home game and sit close to the pitch you can hear Dubravka shouting instructions to his defenders hen they have the ball and different options they have, that they may not see.
This brings a calmness to the defence that wasn’t there before the arrival of the Slovakian international and it is helping the centre backs learn how to be confident on the ball and allowing Newcastle to play out from the back.
The double loan signings have certainly made the difference to Newcastle and has allowed them to play as a different, calmer and more confident team, especially at home. For example, Kenedy has two goals and two assists so far for the Magpies and Dubravka is yet to concede a goal at home for Newcastle.
Both should be tied down to longer contracts in the summer if their parent clubs allow them to leave, know matter the price they will make Newcastle a better and more balanced team. It will be a good start for Benitez building a solid mid-table team for the Geordie faithful.