Premier League Preview: Newcastle

Newcastle over achieved last season, and that was down to the managerial prowess of Rafa Benitez. Benitez performed nothing short of a miracle by getting the Magpies into a finishing position of tenth, especially as they struggled to win games by a clear margin. At one stage last season, Newcastle only picked up one point from October until just before Christmas, but Benitez was able to steady the ship and keep them up. Ayoze Perez was Newcastle’s top goal-scorer of last season on a miserly eight goals, with scoring being a key problem last season as well, especially as Newcastle lost ten games one nil. Without Mike Ashley putting some serious investment into this lacklustre Newcastle squad, we would have to see a repeat of last season defensive performances from the likes of Jamaal Lascelles, as the Magpies only conceded 47 goals.


The summer business from Newcastle hasn’t been the greatest as Ashley once again refuses to back the club with serious investment. The Magpies transfer record came 12 years ago when they signed Michael Owen from Real Madrid for £16 million, and they haven’t broken it since. However, some of Newcastle’s signings have been good, including goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, who performed incredibly well last season, and made vital saves for the Magpies. Fabian Schar looks to be an absolute steal at only £3million and will only improve the Newcastle defence. Kenedy, like Dubravka, will remain on Tyneside after impressing under Benitez last season, but the two most important incomings will be Yoshinori Muto and Salomon Rondon, which Benitez will hope allows his side to improve on the 39 goals they managed to score last season. Sung-Yeung Ki has also joined and will be looking forward to playing alongside Jonjo Shelvey again, after the two had a partnership in the middle of the park when they played for Swansea together. The biggest outgoing will be Dwight Gayle who was a part of a swap deal for Rondon, with Gayle being Newcastle’s second top goal-scorer of last season.


One of the key players for this season will be Rondon, as Benitez will be hoping to increase the number of goals scored by the club next season with this signing. Rondon scored only 7 goals last season at West Brom, but Benitez will be hoping that he can score at least double that next season. Rondon is a big physical presence up front and with Muto partnering him up top he should be able to thrive off someone who does most of the running for him. With Benitez looking to improve competition amongst the squad, Rondon will absolutely provide that, and will also look to bring out the best amongst his fellow teammates. No one will ever know if Rondon would have continued to prosper at West Brom, and under a manger who has a record for improving players, maybe now we will get to see the best out of him as a player. When he was playing at West Brom, it seemed he was playing in a team that always had the handbrake applied, stifling his progression as a player, and not allowing us to see the best from the Venezuelan frontman.


Rafa Benitez is one of the best managers in the Premier League and what he is doing at Newcastle is nothing short of a miracle. He is working with one of the smallest budgets in the league, with once again one of the worst chairmen in terms of investment. After being manager of Liverpool, where he won the Champions League, Real Madrid and Chelsea, winning the Europa League, it’s clear to see that Benitez has got a good pedigree at the highest level, and with him being at Newcastle, Ashley hopes he can bring his experience and take Newcastle back to the heights of European football again. When Benitez took over in 2016, Newcastle were relegated to the Championship, but Benitez managed to take them straight back up again and has kept them in the Premier League since. Benitez has often had the same managerial tactic as to know how to improve players, as seen by the way he is made Newcastle a hard team to beat, and often had a way of winning games through a defensive approach, hence why he boasted one of the best defensive records in the league last season. Benitez is one of the best managers for the Newcastle job, and hopefully Ashley gives him the backing he deserves.


Newcastle fans will be looking to avoid relegation this season, and with the addition of two new strikers, The Magpies should have enough about them to avoid the drop into the Championship. Also, their good defensive stature should also be enough to keep them up, and with defenders like Lascelles, they should have enough to stay in the division another season. Now while there may be worse teams in the Premier League, there certainly isn’t any teams who are worse than Newcastle in terms of attacking areas, and so if they struggle to score goals again this season, we could see this Newcastle team struggle significantly. Kenedy could be a potential breakthrough star this season, and with him only being on loan, Newcastle could see him jet back off to Chelsea before they’ve even seen the best of him. The Brazilian winger is highly rated at Chelsea, and they would want him to return to London. The Toon army will be hoping the Brazilian improves on his two goals and one assist from 13 appearances from last season, and hopefully propel the team up the table.


Newcastle United 4-2-3-1 football formation



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