Benitez: 41 points an “amazing achievement” for promoted Newcastle

Nicholas Mendola
NBC Sports

Rafa Benitez has done a heck of a job with very few resources, and Newcastle United is now as close to 7th as it is to the drop zone following a 2-1 comeback win over Arsenal at St. James’ Park on Sunday.

[ RECAP: Newcastle 2-1 Arsenal ]

Matt Ritchie and Ayoze Perez had the goals, with goalkeeper Martin Dubravka and captain Jamaal Lascelles just as important to the effort against a much-changed by powerful Gunners side.

Unable to land any of his top striker targets, Benitez got an assist from Leicester loanee Islam Slimani in the win that kept Newcastle unbeaten at home since the start of the new year.


Rumors of a club takeover and Benitez quitting abounded this winter, but the Magpies have rebounded behind a defense which has conceded the seventh-fewest goals in the league.

“I think we are safe with 41 points. It’s a massive achievement for the players, the city and the fans. I want to congratulate everyone.

“Today we didn’t play amazing football because we played an amazing team but you have to manage how you play and compete for the win.”

Newcastle has a match-in-hand on ninth-place Everton, and can leapfrog the Toffees with a win at Goodison Park next week. Not bad for a team which sat in 18th when the Gunners beat them 1-o in December.

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