Salomón Rondón's brace against Bournemouth a positive sign for Newcastle United
The start of the 2018-19 campaign was bleak for Newcastle United and manager Rafa Benitez. It took time for the first Premier League win to arrive, last weekend versus Watford. There will certainly be a buzz in the air now at St. James’ Park, as two goals from Salomón Rondón against Bournemouth on Saturday delivered a second consecutive victory for the Magpies.
The striker’s double in the first half put the Toon in a great position early on, and they were able to maintain their lead throughout the encounter. It was an open and attacking game, as the visitors enjoyed several opportunities at goal and had the majority of the possession. Jefferson Lerma got one back for the Cherries to make it 2-1 at the half-time break, though they would not find the equaliser in the second 45 minutes.
The three points are obviously valuable and helped to vault Newcastle higher up the table. United are now 14th, although they are still only a point away from the relegation zone. They will return from the international break looking to make it three wins on the bounce, travelling to face Burnley at Turf Moor on November 26.
For Rondón, it was a special moment that in many ways feels like his true arrival on Tyneside. He signed on-loan this summer from West Brom, with forward Dwight Gayle going in the other direction.
A combination of Newcastle’s own scoring woes and Gayle’s sharp form for the Baggies was creating angst amongst the fans, perhaps feeling that the deal was a mistake. But Saturday’s match was a reminder of why the Magpies made the move in the first place and demonstrated what the Venezuelan international brings to the line-up.
Rondón was a constant threat up front for Benitez’s side, making life difficult in the final third for Bournemouth’s defenders. He ultimately finished the game with eight shots, as his runs created space in the opposing half. He appears to be linking up well with team-mates also, evidenced by a wonderful connection with Kenedy on Newcastle’s second goal.
Consistency at the striker position is not a new problem for United, an area that has been crying out for a solution. Rondón fits the description of what Benitez’s formation requires, and Saturday’s showing will be an overall boost for the entire squad.
Salomón Rondón came to Newcastle United with a good amount of pressure on his shoulders, especially wearing the number nine shirt at St. James’ Park. Fitness concerns slowed his initial progress. But if he continues playing as he did versus Bournemouth on Saturday, Rafa Benitez will be earning more victories in the near future.