How would this current Newcastle United have performed if in the Premier League this season?
Sky Sports asked one of their experts the question…but he wasn’t available, so they asked David Prutton!
Quite remarkably, Prutton says that he thinks Newcastle would have stayed up and that with Rafa Benitez ‘would be in a good place in the Premier League.
The Sky Sports expert adding that Newcastle would have won ‘plenty of games against the teams around them’ in the lower half of the Premier League.
I say ‘quite remarkably’ above because in his weekly predictions, David Putton has predicted Newcastle to win only three of the last nine games he has given a forecast for, including tipping NUFC to lose their last two matches against Brighton and Huddersfield, as well as saying they would fail to beat Brentford, QPR, Derby and Wolves!
‘Rafa Benitez’s men are currently top of the second tier on 76 points, five clear of Chris Hughton’s second-placed side from the south coast.
But how do Newcastle and Brighton (ED: Prutton predicted that this current Brighton team would have been deep in a relegation fight) compare to teams towards the bottom end of the Premier League?
And what changes would both clubs need to make to best prepare themselves for top flight football in 2016/17, should they go up?
We asked Sky Sports’ Football League expert David Prutton for his view…
How would they have done in the Premier League this season?
“I think this Newcastle side would’ve stayed up this season in the Premier League and finished in the bottom half.
“From a character point of view, Newcastle, with Rafa Benitez in their corner, would be in a good place in the Premier League. They’d win plenty of games against teams around them.
“The question marks come from their ability to defend as a unit at that level, especially at full-back as Paul Dummett and DeAndre Yedlin like to get forward.”
What do they need to add next season if they go up?
“Jamaal Lascelles is going to be a fantastic player but he could do with a bit of experience around him to guide him along next season.
“Jonjo Shelvey is a Premier League player but it’s all about whether he can affect players around him to get the best out of them. To have another midfielder alongside Shelvey who can score goals would be ideal, but they don’t exactly grow on trees.
“They’d need to improve the spine of that team to compete above the relegation places.
“Newcastle will be able to attract the same level of players that the likes of Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion will be in the market for.
“From a player’s perspective he’d be looking to play for Newcastle because of the perceived size of the club, but longevity could play a part as Stoke and West Brom are proven mid-table teams at the top level while Newcastle would have it to prove.
“You get the feeling that Benitez wants another crack at the Premier League and to do it on his own terms.”
You have to wonder that despite being an ‘expert’, just how much has David Prutton watched of Newcastle this season?
There are question marks against Paul Dummett at the top level but I don’t think anybody thinks he likes to get forward too much!! Quite the opposite.
As for Jamaal Lascelles needing a new partner…whether the former Forest player is in the team next year or not, it would be quite incredible if he was chosen ahead of Ciaran Clark, a player who is easily my player of the season and somebody who already has great experience both in the Premier League and for his country.
As for improving the spine, yes that area will need strengthening just like every other area of the team, BUT in Darlow, Clark, Shelvey and Gayle we have a cracking quartet of players to make a start with.
Most fans seeing left-back and left-wing as the most pressing position to be strengthened then another striker, central midfield player and so on.