The game against Chelsea had very few high points for Newcastle. However, one certainly was the performance of Karl Darlow.
This raises the question once again of who must be starting in goal. Rob Elliot the veteran Irish shot-stopper or the younger ex-Forest man Karl Darlow.
For most of this season, Rob Elliot has had a tight hold on the number one jersey as well as the starting berth.
However, Benitez, unhappy with his performance at home to Watford, opted for Darlow for the trip to West Brom. It’s fair to say Darlow was solid in that game.
This meant Benitez once again opted for him against Chelsea. Darlow certainly made the most of the occasion with a superb performance keeping out two certain goals.
However, this raises the question of whether this was a one-off or whether this could be a consistent level of performance for Darlow.
Certainly, after last seasons Championship campaign, Darlow may have felt hard done by for not being United’s number one.
It’s difficult to forget some of his performances such as against Rotherham. However, it is important to remember that his wonder saves in that match came from his error.
This can be a problem for Darlow whose mistake gifted Wolves their opening goal in the game at St. James’ last season.
However, his distribution has been poor this season. Despite this Darlow can hardly be hailed as great in this field as well.
Darlow has 0.01 more than Elliot in terms of match rating, mainly due to his excellent performance on Saturday. However, he also had a poor performance in the League Cup to Nottingham Forest.
Overall, Benitez will probably stick with Darlow for the Leicester game as he has warranted his chance. Hopefully though for Elliot, this won’t be the end of the line.