Newcastle United have not played in the Champions League since the 2003/2004 season. Players such as Shay Given, Craig Bellamy or Alan Sheares were still part of ‘The Magpies’ on that campaign. After the arrival of the new ownership to St. James Park halfway last season, signings such as Bruno Guimaraes and Kieran Trippier plus coach Eddie Howe led the team to avoid relegation through an excellent second part of the season.
Newcastle, a solid program in the long term:
Despite being the richest club in the world, the new ownership at St. James Park is investing their money with sense. Just unlike other teams like Chelsea, newcastle have established a solid program in the long term based on signing young but talented players and putting al their confidence on Eddie Howe.
And we can certainly see that taking a look at the summer signings Nick Pope (11,6 millions), Sven Botman (37 millions), Matt Target (17,5 millions) and Alexander Isak (70 millions). All of them prove the club’s politic of bringing young but at the same experienced players without paying too high prices.
Seeing how their season is turning out to be, ‘The Magpies’ really played well their cards: 3rd of the table with four games left and six points above the 5th squad with a pending game, which is to say that, except for a last minute change, the Champions League will be back to St. James Park 20 years later.
A team must be built from backwards and that is the case of Eddie Howe’s Newcastle, as Nick Pope is one of the best keepers in the Premier League. His season is outstanding. According to FBREF, his saving percentage is higher than the 91% of keepers from the top five leagues, which are astonishing numbers.
In addition, Newcastle also count on Sven Botman and Fabian Schär as the two starting defenders are very safe and also talented at playing with the ball on their feet, specially Schär, who holds a percentile of 88 progressive passes after stealing the ball, and surpassing the 90% of central defenders from the top five leagues at winning air balls. The signing of Matt Target has also improved the secureness on the left wing.
Regarding to the midfield, we all know that Bruno Guimaraes is the star of the team, a total midfielder, both offensively and defensively, and also plays the role of leading the game. Guimaraes has become one of the best midfielders from the Premier League.
Other players like Willock o Longstaff usually play by him. The first one is the one that stands out the most as, according to FBREF, he surpasses the 95% of the top European elite midfielders at driving the ball progressively and the 94% at progressive passes. In addition, he has given six assists so far this season.
Joelinton is the revelation of the season, a striker that Howe turned into an interior and whose performing has been extraordinary. His offensive level is magnificent, as he beats the 94% of interiors from the top five leagues at successful dribbles and the 93% at progressive passes. However, his numbers defensively are even better, as he surpasses the 95% at blocks and 91% at won air balls. A hard worker interior that has been a key player for his team.
Offensively, the arrival of Isak were great news. Despite his injury, he has scored 10 goals so far this season and, at the age of 23, he has still way more to add to ‘The Magpies’. Another good reference was the season from Callum Wilson, who has scored 15 goals in the Premier League up to this point, and given four assists.
However, the best news regarding Wilson has been the fact that this year he has not gotten as much injured as he used to, which is something that really helped Newcastle, as he is a great player.
Yes indeed, the worst news offensively have been the injury from Satin-Maximin, the funnest player of the team to watch, a fast dribbler that, as stats show, is one of the best in the world, since the Frenchman surpasses the 99% of the tope elite wingers at successful dribblers, even though this season he has missed too many games.
Lat but not least, the player that has topped off season: Miguel Almirón. The season by the Paraguayan winger is being exceptional, as he has scored 11 goals and, along with Joelinton, he has been one of the main surprises of this historical season for ‘The Magpies’.
We must certainly keep an eye on the club’s investment in the next summer transfer market in order to face off their first season back to the top European competition after 19 years. That is when we will see if they are able to put the best clubs in the world on trouble.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.
Main image: @NUFC.