It has been a remarkable journey for Spaniard Rafa Benitez in the last two seasons as a manager. He had a great season in Italy where he took Napoli to a third place finish and then went on to take the job at the Bernabeu after Ancelotti was given his marching orders before the start of this season.
However, the 55-year old was not able to have any impact on the biggest club in world football and in less than 5 months he was sacked and replaced by Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid.
But his reputation as a top class manager has seen him land another job this time at the relegation struggling Newcastle United who will now hope that the ex-Liverpool boss can get them out of the slump they find themselves in.
Benitez is now getting ready for his first game back in the Premier League against table toppers Leicester City on Monday night.
Leicester City have been immense this season and have not failed to take points from the bottom-placed sides in their run to the top of the table. But this game against Newcastle United might be different for Claudio Ranieri as he now faces a renowned manager in Benitez.
Newcastle have conceded 53 goals so far this season, the fourth-most of any team in the Premier League and this will be the first thing that the manager will have to take care of at the Tyneside.
Benitez’ sides are known for their discipline on the pitch and organization during the game and though it may not be visible in this tie, Newcastle will surely have to adapt to his style if they are to stay in the top flight next season.
The Magpies have plenty of talented players in the squad who do not deserve to be in the relegation zone but the performance in recent times has seen them slump into danger.
However, with Benitez at the helm, Newcastle will now be harder to beat and will surely give the Foxes plenty of problems on the night especially playing away from home.
Leicester City thumped the Magpies in the reverse fixture at the St James Park earlier this season with a 3-0 score-line but this game will not be as easy for the title-chasing side.
Ranieri’s side have just lost 3 league games this season and have found answers to most questions thrown at them this season. But this game will be harder than most of those more so because of the quality of the manager leading the opposition team.
Leicester have been sizzling on the counter and Benitez will be well aware of the threats and will hope that his team can dismantle Ranieri’s game plan and make them play a bit different to try and get them out of their comfort zone.
He will study the strengths and weaknesses of his opponents but it will all depend on whether they can carry out his plan at the King Power on Monday.
Do you think Rafa Benitez can save Newcastle United from relegation this season?