Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle can’t stop scoring from corners – it was VERY different under Alan Pardew

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Remember when Newcastle United NEVER scored from corners?

It’s not so long ago.

The club, which takes on Burnley at Turf Moor on Monday night, went more than two years without scoring a goal from a corner under former manager Alan Pardew.

It’s a different story now.

Newcastle – who scored 25 times from set-pieces in the Championship – have already scored three Premier League goals from corners so far this season.

All three deliveres have come from winger Matt Ritchie.

Captain Jamaal Lascelles scored two goals in consecutive weeks from Ritchie flag kicks.

Midfielder Mikel Merino netted last weekend’s late winner against Crystal Palace from another Ritchie corner.

Ritchie puts the club’s success on corners and free-kicks down to the work done on the training ground.

“I think it’s preparation,” said Ritchie.

“We’re all working on delivery. It’s all good putting a ball into the box, but the boys in the box need to attack it and get on the end of it.

“We try to practice all the time. There are times when you have to go in and rest your legs, but a few times a week we try to make sure that set-pieces are spot on.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle have been linked with a move for Iker Casillas. Benitez had hoped to sign a goalkeeper in the summer transfer window.

Benitez had submitted a list of experienced European goalkeepers – Pepe Reina and Willy Caballero were among his targets – to the club’s hierarchy. However, United failed to sign a stopper and Benitez went into the season with Rob Elliot as his No 1 between the posts.

It’s been reported that Newcastle and Liverpool are considering moving for Porto’s Casillas, who left Real Madrid in 2015 soon after Benitez took charge at the Bernabeu.

It is claimed that the Portuguese side is looking to sell the 36-year-old in order to meet FIFA Financial Fair Play regulations.