5 Reasons Why Newcastle United Can Exceed All Expectations in 2019/20!
Undoubtedly, Newcastle United are one of the biggest clubs in English football history; from the early success in the first decade of the twentieth century winning the first division 3 times, to their 4th title in the 20s, an FA Cup success in the 50s, qualifying for Europe in the late 60s and then becoming a real force in the Premier League in the 1990s narrowly missing the title on numerous occasions.
Newcastle United have one of the biggest fan bases in world football and the "Magpies" have a stadium to match. St. James' Park has a capacity of over 52,000 and the stadium lies in the heart of the City, generating an unbelievable atmosphere come game day.
In addition, the "Toon Army" have witnessed an abundance of world-class players since the clubs existence: Jimmy Lawrence, Hughie Gallgher, Jackie Milburn, Malcolm MacDonald, Kevin Keegan, Peter Beardsley, Paul Gascoigne and Alan Shearer to name a few.
1) Steve Bruce's Arrival
The first reason why I can see Newcastle exceeding expectation in the upcoming Premier League season is due to the arrival of Steve Bruce. He was named boss after Rafa Benitez left his post in June of this year for Dalian Yifang, China.
Benitez was admired by the "Geordies", however it emerged the Spaniard was frustrated by the lack of transfer budget that owner Mike Ashley had offered to him. Thereafter, Bruce who's late parents were lifelong Newcastle United fans, was appointed the new manager on the 17th July 2019.
While Newcastle United fans questioned the new appointment, it appeared that it would bring the squad significant financial benefits. Bruce will reportedly earn £1million a year, while Benitez was on a reported £6million a year, that not only opened up the transfer budget, but increased the club's weekly wage budget.
There is no question that the increase in transfer budget is something which the "Toon Army" have been crying out for in recent times and no doubt Bruce's arrival has brought that.
Although Steve Bruce may not be a tactical genious like Benitez, he will bring notable Premier League experience. In total, Bruce has managed in 11 different Premier League seasons for the likes of Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic, Sunderland and Hull City. His record currently stands at 392 games, 110 wins, 109 draws and 173 losses.
Bruce's best success' in England's top tier came during his time in charge of Birmingham, Wigan and Sunderland respectively. In the early 2000s he led Birmingham to 3 back-to-back mid-table finishes in the Premier League, placing 13th, 10th and 12th. In the late 2000s, Wigan Athletic placed 14th and 11th in back-to-back seasons under Bruce, while his time at Sunderland in 2009/10 and 2010/11 saw the "Black Cats" finish 13th and 10th.
A solid record in the Premier League reinstates the idea that Bruce's appointment will help Newcastle on their way to exceeding expectations in 2019/20.
2) New Signings
Ever since Mike Ashley became the owner of Newcastle United in 2007, the fans have been crying out for the club to spend big money.
Eventually, the summer of 2019 brought the "Toon Army" their biggest wish with the signing of 22 year-old centre forward Joelinton for a fee in the region of £40m from Hoffenheim.
The former Hoffenheim man likes to make defence splitting runs and has also shown in pre-season his intelligent link up play. The Brazilian has so far bagged 2 goals in his 2 pre-season games for the "Magpies". In 2018/19 the 22 year-old striker bagged 7 goals and 7 assists in 28 Bundesliga games.
To add, August the 2nd saw 22 year-old French winger Allan Saint-Maximin arrive on Tyneside for a fee in the region of £22m from Nice. The Frenchman known for his fast-paced dribbling ability completed an average of 4.2 dribbles per game last season, additionally he also has a strong build perfect for the physically of the Premier League.
Jetro Willems has also arrived on a season-long loan from Eintracht Frankfurt. The 25 year-old Dutch full-back is pacy and is known for his ability to get up and down the touchline.
These signings have improved Newcastle tenfold, giving them a great opportunity to exceed expectations in the upcoming season.
3) Miguel Almiron's First Full Season
Miguel Almiron arrived in January this year for £20m from Atlanta United, so under Steve Bruce it will be his first full Premier League season.
Almiron 25, has the ability to light up the Prem in the upcoming season, having won MLS Cup in 2018, with a record 12 goals and 13 assists in 32 regular season games, the Paraguayan's possesses creativity in the final third, impressive close control dribbling and a wand of a left foot. However, he certainly needs a quality strike partner in front of him to allow him to showcase his ability, as seen during his partnership with Josef Martinez in Atlanta linking on numerous occassions.
Luckily enough for Newcastle, as discussed previously Joelinton has arrived. The Brazilian could well be the perfect fit for Almiron, as he offers great mobility with his runs in behind opposition defences. To add, Almiron likes to play in the half spaces and with Joelinton constantly moving, this will create plenty of space for the Paraguayan to operate in.
A partnership between these two will lead Newcastle to bags of goals, giving them the edge in close encounters, this means more points and the chance to push way past everyone's below par expectations of the current team.
4) Squad Depth
The 2019/20 Newcastle United squad is loaded with players and at this moment, Steve Bruce will have to make some tough decisions about who to leave out of the Premier League squad. That being said, the scenario will only arise if no players leave St. James Park between now and when the window shuts at 5pm on Thursday.
Having said that, it's a great problem for Steve Bruce to have as his Newcastle team has enormous strength in depth, giving them a great opportunity to perform consistently and overachieve during the long 38 game season.
In terms of the frontline, Bruce has Matt Ritchie, Jacob Murphy, Rolando Aarons Christian Atsu, Yoshinori Muto, Dwight Gayle, Miguel Almiron, along with new signings Joelinton and Saint-Maximin. This shows the squad is jam-packed with creativity and quality in the attacking third.
The midfield options include: Isaac Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Jonjo Shelvey, Jack Colback, Henri Saivet and Ki Sung-yeung. In an area of the pitch that requires energy and the ability to control a game, Steve Bruce has plenty of candidate capable of filling the role.
Looking at the defensive positions, Newcastle should have a solid year defensively with DeAndre Yedlin, Javier Manquillo, Jetro Willems, Jamie Sterry, Achraf Lazaar and Paul Dummett in the full-back areas. Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schar, Ciaran Clark, Florian Lejeune and Federico Fernandez all play as centre-backs, reinforcing the idea that not only do Newcastle have strength in depth, but they have plenty of quality at their disposal too.
Finally, Martin Dubravka and Karl Darlow who are both Premier League quality goalkeepers will battle it out for the number 1 role.
5) No Pressure
Whilst the expectation of the "Toon Army" is very high, the rest of the Premier League and media expect the same mediocre performances as seen in recent years. This will bring the best out of this current suqad and they will want to prove everyone wrong.
Steve Bruce's men will be ready to go from minute 1 of the new season and when the media don't expect a lot it allows the players to relax and play with an air of confidence. As we saw in 2015/16 with Leicester City under Claudio Ranieri, no one expected them go all the way and win the league, however they built confidence with every result and could any team stop them? No.
When the fans of Newcastle United are against the team, it makes it extremely difficult to play football. On the other hand, the confidence which could potentially arise from this scenario means the fans will be on their side. When these fans are on your side, as Stuart Pearce recently stated, on TalkSport Radio "they are the best in the country".