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Crystal Palace
Geordie1 you hit the nail on the head though. This is a championship side team, not a premier league one. Unfortunately in the EPL these days you have to invest a lot of money in the sqaud. This year we will go up against teams with players that are LITERALLY valued at more than our entire squad. That is sobering. Our current investment is good enough for the championship and not surprisingly Ashley thinks its good enough for the EPL, which is not the case, and becoming more unlikely year by year as player valuation goes up and the sport in general becomes more popular.

My wife made the great comment that it may be better for us the fans if we were to go down and stay down that way we would compete money-wise.
Sorry but I don't see or understand that logic of going down. Ashley would likely strip the squad to it's bare bones and we would end up on the managerial merry-go-round like Leeds have done. Without the Premier League TV revenue and benefits, Ashley would sell every single player we had with any value and buy the bare minimum to just keep us in the division. Not only that but we would get to watch not just our own team playing sub-standard football, but every team we faced as well apart from the odd one or two teams which try to play football at that level. Going down and staying down would be an absolute disaster and a sure fire way to send us into obscurity.

I can't agree on Ki either. It's no surprise having seen him this season that Swansea didn't want him in their team that was struggling. He also isn't anywhere near up to the sort of standard Benitez expects in terms of battle and commitment. So far he looks like he has the heart of a mouse and the sort of player we would have ended up signing 10 years a go to plod around midfield doing sweet FA. I thought at the time was an excellent free transfer but having seen him so far I think he is a total lightweight in central midfield who is scared to put his foot in and spends most of his time running towards the ball to close it down, with no actual intention of putting a meaningful challenge in. With Muto I find he is up for the battle, but I don't see him scoring goals. He hasn't scored 10 league goals outside of the Japanese league, and so far what I have seen shows he will run around and do bits and bats but as far as scoring 10 league goals is concerned, I don't see it.

I also disagree with the general opinion that this is all we can expect. Diame and Shelvey were part of one of the best midfield partnerships outside of the top 5 last season from Christmas onwards to the end of the season. I think the sit back and absorb pressure tactics that Benitez is employing is kidding us all into thinking this is as good as it gets. Benitez is not getting the best out of Rondon, in the same way he couldn't get the best out of Mitrovic, who has since gone on to show he can score goals at this level. At what point do we go hang on a minute, why are we setting up not to get beat every week when we actually have a team good enough to compete with anyone in the bottom half of the table?! I raised this point a few weeks a go but I can't help but feel Benitez is untouchable in the eyes of the fans. Had Pardew, Souness, Joe Kinnear and the like set up in the same way Benitez has this season, they would be getting absolutely and utterly slaughtered by the fans. We ARE better than what we are seeing right now, we do have better players than Benitez is making us think, and I am getting really sick of his negative approach to every single game. He did an amazing job to get us to 10th last season, but so far he has to take the criticism for the way he has set us up and for what he is getting out of some of our better players.

It's just not good enough, and it's about time someone called him on it.

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