Benitez Earns First Win To Move Newcastle Closer To Safety

Rafael BenitezRafael Benitez earned his first win as Newcastle United manager and boosted their hopes of staying in the Barclays Premier League with a 3-0 victory over Swansea City on Saturday.

Benitez made five changes to the starting XI in response to last weekend’s defeat by Southampton and the Spaniard’s team selection was vindicated on his birthday, with Newcastle earning their reward for a much-improved showing.

Jamaal Lascelles, who came in for Steven Taylor in the back four, opened the scoring in the 40th minute, heading in only his second goal for the club from Andros Townsend’s corner.

Jefferson Montero and Bafetimbi Gomis both spurned big chances for Swansea before Moussa Sissoko’s first goal of the campaign and Townsend’s late third sealed a result that, combined with Sunderland’s 3-0 win at Norwich City, moves Newcastle within three points of safety with five matches to play.

Newcastle United boss, Rafael Benitez, praised the “passion and commitment” shown by his players in their victory over Swansea City.

“I have to say congratulations to the players,” Benitez told BBC Sport. “They showed passion and commitment. Thank you to the fans. If we stick together then it’s easier for us to approach the game and gives us the chance to win. The players that started were really good. And the other players who came on helped the team.

“Striker Papiss Cisse was fantastic up front and Aleksandar Mitrovic was good too when he came on. When you win games everybody is happy. Today we saw what we expect from this team.

“We have to show the same in the other games. We were not thinking about the earlier win for Sunderland over Norwich. Now we can see the table but before the game it was about focusing on the game.”

The North-East outfit are now three points within safety with five games left to play.

English Premier League: Arsenal Edge Newcastle 1-0

Arsenal Emirates AsiaAt the  English Premier League, An own goal by Fabricio Coloccini has gifted Arsenal a 1-0 victory at Newcastle in Saturday’s lunch time kickoff.

The Argentine defender decided the game in Arsenal’s favour when he deflected home a strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 52nd minute.

Newcastle played majority of the game with 10 men after Aleksandar Mitrovic was shown a straight red card for a stamp on Francis Coquelin after 16 minutes of play.

Newcastle battled to a point at Old Trafford last weekend but Steve McClaren’s side is still chasing their first win of the campaign.