Newcastle United are in an uphill relegation battle this season. They were winless from their first 13 Premier League games and had accumulated just six points at that stage. No team in the league’s history has ever managed to avoid relegation after such a topsy-turvy start. So if the Magpies will have to stay alive in the Premier League for another season, then they’ll have to rewrite history.
So can they do it? Let’s find out.
A SHREWD MANAGER
Hope had gone out of the window at the Northeast of England club when Steve Bruce was their manager. The fans had had enough of his pragmatic approach to football and wanted a change in management post the completion of the takeover by the Saudi group. With the sudden abundance of money available, many managers would have loved to don the cap of the head coach at Newcastle but the new ownership went for 44-year-old Brit, Eddie Howe.
Howe, a professional who came through the youth system at Bournemouth, helped the Cherries climb up the English football pyramid in no time. He took over when the club was in the Conference League and took them all the way to the top flight of English football. His team survived in the Premier League for five years before suffering relegation in the 2020 season. Howe was named the Football League Manager of the Decade in 2015.
Howe has plenty of Premier League experience and has survived many relegation battles previously. He has had an instant impact at the club already.
STRIKING FORM AT THE RIGHT TIME
By beating Frank Lampard’s Everton at St. James Park 3-1, Newcastle made it back-toback wins in the league and notched up their third win of the season. With 22 matches played, Newcastle currently are outside the relegation spots.
THE MAGIC NUMBER MAY BE LESS THIS SEASON
The safety net for the Premier League teams in the previous seasons has been above 40 points usually. Since the turn of the century, the average number of points needed to guarantee survival without having to rely on goal difference is 35.64.
So while 36 points give you an above-average chance of surviving, it is certainly not a magic number. This season though, the numbers could be a bit lower. The bottom half of the table is tightly packed and not much separates the team at 17th and the 14th. Also due to the disparity in the number of games played by each club this season, the table looks a bit congested in the bottom half.
Newcastle will be hoping to reach the 36 points mark, which means the Magpies need at least 18 points from their last 16 matches.
GOOD TRANSFER WINDOW
With the takeover finally going through in the middle of the season, Newcastle always had plenty of cash to splash around in the January transfer window. They roped in five new faces in the club and have spent over 100 million in a single window. These players are the ones who go straight into the playing XI. With all the cash available, Newcastle haven’t gone crazy but have been sensible with their signings. Along with squad depth, they have added pure quality and these players could be influential in their fight for safety.
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