PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Christian Atsu – Newcastle need their Ghana star to return – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers

Graeme Jackson

Monday Nov 27, 2017. 13:00

Ghanaian Christian Atsu was again absent as Newcastle United slumped to a fourth successive defeat on Saturday.

The Magpies were given a chastening 3-0 beating at home by Watford, with Atsu missing a second successive match following the thigh injury he supposedly aggravate while on international duty with the Black Stars.

The loss to the Hornets is a fourth in succession for Rafael Benitez’s side, who have also been beaten by Burnley, Bournemouth and Manchester United in the sequence.

The defeat to United at Old Trafford is to be expected given the difference in the respective teams’ ambitions, but the losses against the other three will be major worries for Newcastle fans.

The club has dropped to 13th place on the log and is just four points above the relegation zone.

The good news is that Atsu is nearing a return from injury, with Benitez revealing last week that the winger is making encouraging progress.

The Magpies may even be tempted to fast-track his return when they face West Bromwich Albion in a midweek Premier League clash at the Hawthorns tomorrow night.

Short of that, they’ll definitely want him for the high profile match away to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, December 2, where Atsu’s pace and penetration on the counter attack could be a key facet of their game plan.

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Rafa Benitez: Christian Atsu making progress – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Nov 22, 2017. 15:00

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has explained that Ghanaian winger Christian Atsu is making progress in his recovery from injury.

The Black Stars man aggravated a thigh/groin injury while away on international duty and missed Ghana’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Egypt, as well as Newcastle’s 4-1 loss to Manchester United last weekend.

The Magpies will face Watford at home this weekend and Benitez has explained that while Atsu is making good progress, it is too early to say when he will return to action.

“[Jamaal] Lascelles is getting better, but still he will need some time, and Atsu is the same. It is too early to say [when they will be back],” Benitez explained.

“But [Mikel] Merino has been doing part of the training session and [Paul] Dummett has done the full training session, so that is positive news for us.”

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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Christian Atsu – Newcastle manager not blaming Ghana for injury – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Newcastle United‘s Christian Atsu

Graeme Jackson

Monday Nov 20, 2017. 13:00

With Christian Atsu currently on Newcastle United’s injury list, manager Rafael Benitez has refused to blame Ghana for the player’s unavailability.

The 25-year-old Black Stars winger missed the Magpies’ 4-1 defeat away to Manchester United this past weekend with a thigh injury.

The player first sustained the injury while playing for Newcastle against his former side Bournemouth ahead of the recent international break.

He then flew out to join the Ghana squad ahead of their 2018 World Cup qualifier against Egypt, but was ruled out of the game due to the knock.

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has since explained that Ghana were not to blame for the player’s injury.

“He had a kick during the game against Bournemouth, and after when he shot he was feeling it a little bit,” the Spanish tactician explained ahead of the game against Man United.

“He put some ice on it and said he was fine. Then he went away with the national team. He had a training session and they [Ghana] sent him back.

“It’s not the case that they were using him and then something happened. He had a little problem and then he went there, couldn’t play and he came back. It’s not that it’s their fault. It’s just something that happened.”

Benitez and Newcastle will hope Atsu returns to fitness and availability ahead of their match at home to Watford in the Premier League this coming Saturday.

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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Christian Atsu – Ghana star’s progress to be stalled by injury? – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Newcastle United‘s Christian Atsu

Graeme Jackson

Monday Nov 13, 2017. 13:00

Ghanaian star Christian Atsu will be hoping the progress he has made this season does not come to a grinding halt due to injury.

The Black Stars winger sustained a minor thigh injury while playing for Newcastle United against Bournemouth earlier this month.

Despite concerns over the issue, Atsu was still called up for Ghana’s dead-rubber 2018 World Cup qualifier against Egypt on November 12.

Yet in training for the match, Atsu broke down and his minor injury has now been aggravated all the way to a reported thigh muscle tear.

Quite how long the player will be sidelined remains to be seen, but regardless of the duration, Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez is said to be furious at having one of his key attacking players put at risk.

Atsu looks highly likely to miss out on the Magpies’ next match, a high-profile Premier League clash away to Manchester United on Saturday evening – let’s hope it is not the first of many.

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Christian Atsu to miss Ghana v Egypt, doubtful for Newcastle’s next match – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Graeme Jackson

Sunday Nov 12, 2017. 12:00

Christian Atsu has been ruled out of Ghana’s final 2018 World Cup qualifier against Egypt later today due to a thigh injury, and is a major doubt for Newcastle United’s next Premier League assignment.

The Black Stars will host the already-qualified Pharaohs in a dead-rubber clash in Kumasi, but they will do so without their flying winger.

Atsu picked up a thigh injury and pulled out of Ghana’s training in Kumasi on Wednesday. Further tests have confirmed that the 25-year-old has suffered a thigh muscle tear and is definitely out of contention for match against Egypt.

This is bad news not just for the Black Stars, but also for Newcastle United. Atsu has been one of manager Rafa Bentiez’s more potent attacking players but looks set for a spell on the sidelines.

Atsu is a major doubt for the Magpies’ next Premier league match, a high-profile trip to old Trafford to face Manchester United on Saturday 18 November.

In other Ghana news, captain Asamoah Gyan has also been ruled out of today’s match due to injury, while Patrick Twumasi is doubtful after taking a knock to the ankle in a warm-up match against Glow Lamp Academy.

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Asamoah Gyan, Christian Atsu doubtful for Ghana v Egypt – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Basem Morsy of Egypt (L) in action against Christian Atsu of Ghana

Graeme Jackson

Thursday Nov 09, 2017. 15:30

Ghana have been dealt two blows ahead of their 2018 World Cup qualifier against Egypt this weekend after both Asamoah Gyan and Christian Atsu limped out of training yesterday.

Atsu missed Tuesday’s training session and was forced to withdraw from Wednesday’s workout as concern over his reported thigh strain increased.

Black Stars team doctors will continue to assess the player ahead of the match against Egypt in Kumasi on Sunday.

Gyan also withdrew from Wednesday’s training with a suspected thigh problem, and he will be assessed in Accra today.

The veteran striker has battled against repeated injuries throughout the last couple of years of his career and is now a major doubt for the clash against the Pharaohs.

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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Christian Atsu – Ghana winger to tear into Burnley tonight – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Graeme Jackson

Monday Oct 30, 2017. 16:00

Christian Atsu will have the chance to tear into Burnley’s defence when Newcastle United head to Turf Moor for a Premier League clash tonight.

The Ghanaian winger has appeared in all nine of the Magpies’ league matches thus far in the 2017/18 season and has played a key role in their strong start to the campaign.

With one goal and two assists, there is still room for Atsu to improve in the final third of the field, but his effort and endeavour have won over United’s fans.

The former Chelsea man has also had his place as a regular starter defended by manager Rafa Benitez.

The Spaniard has been asked why he has opted to field Atsu ahead of Jacob Murphy – a more expensive signing.

“You can use the money [the fee for Murphy] as an excuse for anything but Matt Ritchie and Christian Atsu also cost us money,” Benitez told the Chronicle.

“The main thing is not the money. We signed a player for four or five years – who is a young player – who needed Premier League experience.

“He is getting better. In every training session, there is improvement from him and he is working hard trying to get better.

“I am really pleased with everything. I think he will be a good player for us during the season and also in the future. He is still a young player,” he added.

Atsu is set to start for Newcastle tonight, with the match at Turf Moor set to kick-off at 22h00 CAT.

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Atsu to miss Uganda tussle on Newcastle advice – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Christian Atsu of Ghana (l) challenged by Ambroise Oyongo of Cameroon during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals Afcon semifinal football match between Cameroon and Ghana at the Franceville Stadium in Gabon on 02 February 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Bertin Basson

Friday Oct 06, 2017. 20:00

hristian Atsu pulled out of Ghana’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Uganda at the Mandela National Stadium in Kampala this Saturday, following advice from his club team.

The 25-year-old has – according to The Chronicle Live – been playing through the pain barrier over the past couple of weeks, and in an attempt to recapture his best form, the Magpies suggested that he not travel to Uganda.

The news came as a major blow for Black Stars head coach Kwesi Appiah, who will miss several key players as the West Africans aim to keep their slim World Cup hopes alive.

Asamoah Gyan, Andre Ayew, Jordan Ayew, Thomas Agyepong, Harrison Afful and Johnathan Mensah will also play no part in Kampala.


Atsu was key to Ghana thumping Congo 5-1 in Brazzaville last time out, and Appiah was hoping to count on the influential winger, only to be rocked by another withdrawal.

The former FC Porto man has started all put one of Newcastle’s English Premier League games this season and played 90 minutes in a 1-1 draw against Liverpool last weekend.

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Atsu: Newcastle United can do well without key players – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers

Austin Ditlhobolo

Tuesday Aug 15, 2017. 18:00

Newcastle United midfielder Christian Atsu has urged his club team-mates to stick together following their defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

The Magpies were brushed 2-0 by Spurs in their first 2017/18 English Premier League (EPL) match at the St James’ Park in Newcastle on Sunday.

“We went into the game with a very strong mentality – trying to win. We did really well in the first half and made things difficult for them,” Atsu told the club’s official website.

“We created a couple of chances but after the red card, when we had ten men, it became really hard,”

“We had to stick together. Individually, we knew they were better than us, so we needed to play as a team. We did that,” the 25-year-old winger added.

“We need to believe in ourselves, and continue to stick with our game-plans. We just need to keep our focus, keep working hard and try to win our next game.”

Newcastle, who were promoted from the English Championship in April, 2017, had to substitute Paul Dummett and Florian Lejeune after they sustained injuries.

Atsu’s side are now scheduled to take on Huddersfield Town in their next league match which will be played at The John Smith’s Stadium on Sunday.

“The team is ready. Although we lost two players, you did not see any difference – you could see all the players are well-prepared for anything that happens,” the Ghanaian international said.

“We will need to win games before we become more confident, but I think the team is really solid and playing really well.

“We thank the fans for their support. They have been amazing. We will come back stronger to give them what they deserve.”

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Benitez’s advice has been important – Christian Atsu – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Graeme Jackson

Monday Aug 07, 2017. 20:30

Christian Atsu has explained that Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez’s advice has played a major role in the fine form he has shown for the Magpies.

The Black Stars attacker scored in Newcastle’s final preseason game ahead of the 2016/17 campaign, as they defeated Hellas Verona 2-0 on Sunday.

Atsu was also on target last weekend in a 3-1 win over Wolfsburg and says his fine form can be credited to the influence of Benitez.

“I always want to do something to help the team move forward. I try to work hard and I want to be better than last season,” he told Newcastle’s official website.

“We know what is ahead of us – its bigger than what we passed through last season – and we just need to keep working hard and be better players, each and every day.

“I think I’m more focussed, and I’m also listening to Rafa Benítez. His advice has been very important to me, and my teammates have also been very supportive too. We’re all working together.

“With him, I think I’m improving. I just need to keep working hard and keep trying to help the team each and every game. Now there is big competition in the team, and you can’t underrate any player. I just need to keep working hard and try to do something for the team.”

Atsu added, “We are working hard and we are becoming a better team. We are understanding each other on the field and we are also a very strong team to beat.

“They [Hellas] were a very good team. Italian clubs are very difficult to beat, so we’re very happy that we created a lot of chances and also won the game.

“We were compact, we understand each other and we broke their defence up and managed to score two goals. We created a lot of chances and kept a clean sheet, so we’re happy with that.

“To win a game, we have to create those chances – if we don’t create them, we won’t win. That’s a positive thing for the whole team, so now we have to keep working and build on that.”

Atsu will hope to feature strongly for United when they open their Premier League campaign with a clash at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

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