'About time', 'Been awful' - Newcastle fans rave over star man's axe v Arsenal
Newcastle United fans have been left delighted on social media over Rafael Benitez’s decision to axe Matt Ritchie from the starting XI for their clash against Arsenal.
The Scottish winger has been a regular for the Magpies this season, starting in every one of the club’s 17 league fixtures this season, but after a poor run of form he has found himself dropped to the bench.
The club confirmed via their official Twitter account that Ritchie was one of five changes made to the line up from the midweek defeat at home to Everton, with Karl Darlow, Jonjo Shelvey, Mohamed Diame and Dwight Gayle joining the winger in dropping out of the side.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) December 16, 2017
They have been replaced by Rob Elliot, Isaac Hayden, Ayoze Perez, Joselu and Jacob Murphy in the line up, as the Magpies look to end a dreadful run of form.
Despite being a firm fans’ favourite at St James’ Park, the Toon Army were happy to see that Ritchie had been dropped to the substitutes’ bench for the match at the Emirates Stadium, taking to Twitter to voice their approval, suggesting that he is in need of a rest.
Here, Football Insider has rounded up a selection of the supporters’ best tweets:
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About time Ritchie was dropped, just want mbemba playing
— Øli (@FfsOliiver) December 16, 2017
Ritchie dropped. No surprise
— Alastair Campbell (@alastair10) December 16, 2017
Ritchie gets a much needed rest. #nufc
— Newyorkmagpie (@newyorkmagpie) December 16, 2017
Glad Ritchie has been dropped, Hasn’t been at the races and Murphy deserves a chance! #nufc
— Luke (@xl3utterz_) December 16, 2017
About time Ritchie was 'given a rest'. Not sure about Manquillo still at left back, aye Dummett isn't fit but if Lejuene stays at CB then start Clark at LB. Obviously Darlow was going to be dropped and I'm not so sure about dropping Gayle, but I'm not CL winning manager #NUFC
— Ben Storey (@91Storey) December 16, 2017
Ritchie deserved to be dropped been poor last 6 games
— DavidBarber (@davidbarber11) December 16, 2017
Ritchie dropped, good decision he needs a break hes been awful lately. Manquillo playing = L. Joselu up front… not sure why gayles been dropped
— Jay (@NufcJay18) December 16, 2017
I love him but can’t argue with Ritchie getting dropped, we’ll have pace on the break. I wish he’d go back to Clark and Lascelles though, they had an excellent partnership
— Tom (@ToonTomm) December 16, 2017
Ritchie has turned out a total of 66 times for the Magpies since joining from Bournemouth in the summer of 2016, and has 16 goals and 16 assists to his name.
In other Newcastle United news, a panel of Sky Sports pundits have been unanimous in their verdict on the Magpies’ survival hopes.