Comment: Why Benitez must be a fool to start Atsu against Chelsea


Rafa Benitez would be a fool if he opts to start Newcastle United winger Christian Atsu against Chelsea despite Micky Quinn claiming the player could do well as he has a point to prove.

The Spanish manager knows he has to pick a player capable of replacing Kenedy on his side’s left-flank for the game against the Blues on Sunday as the Brazilian is unavailable to play against his parent club.

Quinn, who played 110 times for the Magpies, shared that if he was in charge he would opt to start Atsu in Sunday’s game as the winger will have a point to prove as he will be facing his old side.

“Anyway, Rafa needs to make a decision as to who he brings into the side instead – and I’d opt for Christian Atsu,” wrote the 56-year-old in his column for the Chronicle.

“I thought Atsu was unlucky to lose his place during the second half of last season, and I like his direct running. His end product is sometimes lacking, but I think he’ll have a point to prove against his former club.”

While players can be motivated to go the extra mile when playing a former side in order to prove a point, Benitez would be foolish to start the 26-year-old.

Atsu, who rakes in £30,000-a-week at St James Park (Source: Spotrac) regularly is careless in posession and due to this is often the player who ends up losing the ball for his side.

The 26-year-old demonstrated his ability to cause his side headaches during his side’s opening Premier League game against Spurs as after replacing Matt Ritchie in that match, he did nothing but lose the ball for his side.

Atsu may at times show glimpses of skill but against the Blues it will be important to hold onto possession wherever possible as the Blues will be ruthless when it comes to ensuring they leave St James Park with all three points.

Chelsea have made it two wins out of two so far and have scored six goals in the process, so the Magpies can’t gift them opportunities and Atsu is the type of player to do that.

Benitez has other options to look at when it comes to picking a replacement for Kenedy with Josh Murphy and Yoshinori Muto possible options so he doesn’t have to select Atsu.

Therefore, Benitez would be foolish to heed Quinn’s advice following the pundit’s claim about Atsu as the winger will prove to be a liability against a side like Chelsea.

By: Laura OLeary/



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