Another season begins for Newcastle United but will it just be another frustrating one for them? The usual routine is for fans to turn up in their masses to see their beloved side battle relegation. Then they get a good run of form just at the right time to end up safe from the drop. With a new head coach but the same owner, what can United expect to achieve this season?

2018/19 Season

It was the usual story for Newcastle United last season. They spent some time in the bottom three only to rally and finish 13th. They still haven’t managed a top ten finish in the Premier League since the 2013/14 season. 45 points were earned last season and that kept them 11 points above the relegation zone for the second sucessive season. 17 league games were lost and only the bottom four clubs scored less goals. As usual, there was plenty of talk about Mike Ashley selling the club but like a white Christmas in the desert, it never materialised.

Transfer Activity

Newcastle fans would have been concerned when Ayoze Perez was sold to Leicester City for £30m. He’s been their top league scorer for the past two seasons with 20 goals. Owner Mike Ashley admits he’ll now set higher release clauses. Further panic set in as Saloman Rondon (11 goals last season) followed former manager Rafael Benitez to China. Also departing the club is Joselu who’s gone to La Liga club Alaves. United face a battle to hang onto Matthew Longstaff who has attracted interest from Manchester United.

There have been signings though with a club record £40m spent on acquiring the Brazilian striker Joelinton from Hoffenheim. He’s scored 32 goals in the last three seasons, two of them spent on loan at Rapid Vienna. You could ask if he’s so good, why did Hoffenheim let him go on loan for two seasons? Newcastle have also signed former Chelsea midfielder Kyle Scott and former Bolton goalie Jake Turner. There’s still more work to be done by Steve Bruce before the transfer window closes.

Problem Areas

Where do we start! Just 42 league goals scored last season which is 15 less than Manchester City scored at home. Betfred will give you 10/1 (11.0) on United being the lowest scoring team in the Premier League this season.

The then record signing Miguel Almiron has yet to score a league goal for them. Hopefully he’ll get on the score sheet this season and Joelinton will be a success. If so, then the BetVictor odds of 4/11 (1.36) on Newcastle staying up should pay a profit.

17 league games were lost last season and 10 of those came at home. Only Cardiff and Huddersfield lost more times on home soil. Eight games were won (just one drawn), the same number as won in the 2017/18 season. They need more home wins if they ever fancy getting in the top ten.

Just four away league games were won last season, again the same number as the previous season. Only 36 away goals have been scored in the last two seasons with 53 conceded. Serious improvement is required in this area or the 9/4 (3.25) at Bet365 on Newcastle being relegated will shorten.

Off the pitch, fans remain unhappy. They long for Mike Ashley to leave and aren’t happy at the arrival of Steve Bruce. SkyBet will give you 7/1 (8.0) on him being the next Premier League boss to leave his club. A few bad results and the atmosphere is going to sour even more.

Early Fixture List

11 August: Arsenal (home)

17 August: Norwich City (away)

25 August: Tottenham Hotpspur (away)

31 August: Watford (home)

14 September: Liverpool (away)

A worrying fixture list for Newcastle begins with the visit of Arsenal. They are 29/10 (3.9) at Betfair to win that opening fixture. United have to play three of the top six in from last season in their opening five fixtures. That makes the trip to Norwich (United are 6/4 (2.5) with SkyBet to win at Carrow Road) and the home game against Watford important if Steve Bruce wants to avoid a disastrous start to his time at Newcastle.

Prediction

Steve Bruce has to win the fans over and it’s not going to be an easy job. His new Brazilian striker has to be a success and more signings need to be made. The Mike Ashley situation has to be resolved sooner or later for Newcastle to progress. They are 5/1 (6.0) at Black Type to finish in the top ten. That could be possible if Bruce works wonders in the transfer market, especially if a new owner came along before January. However, another season in the bottom half of the table looks likely for United and a relegation battle again looks a threat.

Published by Steve Ashfield

Steve is a self-employed freelance writer with years of experience writing about everything from sport to politics. He loves his statistics and quotes them at every opportunity.

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