When the Spanish coach took over the club last year, he made several changes that raised eyebrows but they have turned out to be the best decisions for the team overall, going by the achievements this term.
One of the aims of the former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Chelsea boss was to have a dependable backline. By March 2016, the sinking team had conceded 53 goals. The team was breaking into pieces so the coach had to make changes to reactions.
The skipper FabricioColoccini decided to exit the team – he was actually never the same since his failed move to San Lorenzo in 2013 – and Steven Taylor seemed like he would not be able to play to Benitez’s demands. They both left during the summer as the club relegated.
Benitez started his work by handing the arm band to an inexperienced Jamaal Lascelles. He did numerous uprooting and shifting until he got the team he wanted and deserved.
Bentiez took a bet on former Aston Villa man Ciaran Clark. He paired him with the skipper at the backline. Clark proved to be one of the best investments of Benitez, along with Dwight Gayle.
When (not if) Newcastle reach the Premier League, the opposition would be fiercer but the current pair deserves a chance to continue. They have actually been crucial to the surge of the team this season.
Aside all these, if Benitez does decide to play a three-man defence, Chancel Mbemba would make a great option to add to the pair. This would even allow DeAndre Yedlin flourish in right wing back role and contribute more to the attack with his pace.
The team is already looking ahead but they still have to manage any surprises from Brighton before the Championship season ends officially.