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Opinion

This is what Newcastle United have really deserved under Eddie Howe

5 months ago
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The least impressive thing about Eddie Howe so far, was his initial appointment.

Not the fact that he was appointed but the way the new Newcastle United owners handled it.

Pushing the message out in the press prematurely that Unai Emery was set to come in, only for the Spaniard to decide to stay at Villarreal.

That though is one of the few things that the new ownership have got wrong. However, even then they had overall got the recruitment process right, as their second choice who had also been interviewed a number of times, was Eddie Howe.

Ironically, the Newcastle United management issue actually appears to have helped turn around Unai Emery’s and Villarreal’s season around.

Before turning down NUFC, Emery’s team had won only two of eleven La Liga matches and were struggling in the bottom half of the table, since committing once again to the Spanish club, the former Arsenal boss has overseen another 17 league matches, winning ten, drawing three and losing only four. Villarreal now seventh in the table and only six points off the top four. They also made it to the last 16 of the Champions League and a credible 1-1 draw at home to Juventus, has given them a fighting outside chance of making the last eight, when playing the second leg in Italy on Wednesday.

A real sliding doors moment possibly for both Unai Emery and Eddie Howe, in terms of their management careers. You can’t say for sure but judging by Emery’s overall profile and the way his team have performed since early November 2021, I think Newcastle United would probably have been ok if he had taken the job.

However, dealing in the what actually happened…

When Newcastle United announced Eddie Howe as the new NUFC Head Coach on 8 November 2021, the official announcement contained these quotes:

Eddie Howe:

“It is a great honour to become head coach of a club with the stature and history of Newcastle United. It is a very proud day for me and my family.

“This is a wonderful opportunity, but there is also a lot of work ahead of us and I am eager to get onto the training ground to start working with the players.

“I would like to thank the club’s owners for this opportunity and thank the club’s supporters for the incredible welcome they have already given me. I am very excited to begin our journey together.”

Amanda Staveley said:

“We have been incredibly impressed by Eddie through what has been a rigorous recruitment process.

“As well as his obvious achievements with AFC Bournemouth, where he had a transformational impact, he is a passionate and dynamic coach who has clear ideas about taking this team and club forward.

“He is a great fit for what we are trying to build here. We are delighted to welcome Eddie and his staff to St. James’ Park and very much look forward to working together towards our collective ambitions.”

What I would like to do now after that shocking refereeing / VAR shambles at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, is look at what Newcastle United have really deserved under Eddie Howe.

Far too many fans, of NUFC and every other club, appear to be incapable so often of differentiating between a good performance and good result, this one at Chelsea yesterday maybe an exception.

So often I see Newcastle play well but don’t win and loads of supporters criticising individuals and the team overall.

Then alternatively, I see Newcastle play badly but win and yet loads of our fans only see it as a brilliant performance all round.

Sadly, too many Newcastle fans happy to go with what the media tell them to think, rather than think for themselves, especially if NUFC have lost, or drawn with a team they were expected to beat.

So here are all 17 of the Newcastle United matches under Eddie Howe, with the actual result and then in brackets, what result I thought the performance deserved for NUFC:

Newcastle 3 Brentford 3 (Win)

Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0 (Lose)

Newcastle 1 Norwich 1 (Win)

Newcastle 1 Burnley 0 (Win)

Leicester 4 Newcastle 0 (Lose)

Liverpool 3 Newcastle 1 (Lose)

Newcastle 0 Man City 4 (Lose)

Newcastle 1 Man U 1 (Win)

Newcastle 1 Watford 1 (Draw)

Leeds 0 Newcastle 1 (Draw)

Newcastle 3 Everton 1 (Win)

Newcastle 1 Aston Villa 0 (Win)

West Ham 1 Newcastle 1 (Win)

Brentford 0 Newcastle 2 (Win)

Newcastle 2 Brighton 1 (Lose)

Southampton 1 Newcastle 2 (Draw)

Chelsea 1 Newcastle 0 (Draw)

Actual Eddie Howe results at Newcastle United

Played 17 Won 7 Drawn 5 Lost 5 (Points 26)

The results that Newcastle United performances have deserved (in my opinion…) under Eddie Howe

Played 17 Won 8 Drawn 4 Lost 5 (Points 28)

So not a massive difference in terms of the overall points total, with Eddie Howe deserving to have picked up two more points, in my opinion.

However, what the above reminds me of, is just how so many games rest on such fine small margins, such as if either the penalty or red card (or both!) had been rightfully given at Chelsea then I think NUFC would very likely have won, never mind draw. Whilst only three days earlier, if Adams’ shot just before half-time had gone in instead of hitting the bar, Southampton would very likely have won, never mind not even getting a draw.

Counting up, I make it that in eight of the seventeen Eddie Howe matches so far, pretty much half, the Newcastle United actual performance had deserved a different result, for better or worse, than the one that actually we ended up with.

So what is my point here, if anything…?

Well, I certainly think that it is worth remembering that long before the recent upturn in results happened, myself and many other Newcastle United fans were saying that actually from day one under Eddie Howe, performances were clearly better than what we had seen in the opening three months of the season.

Newcastle absolutely battered Brentford in Howe’s first match but were undone by two really poor goals that were Darlow’s fault. Norwich we deserved to beat even though playing with ten men for almost the entire match and undone by another keeper mistake late on, this time Dubravka.

The journalists, pundits and rival fans were loving it of course, the early Eddie Howe results ‘proving’ supposedly that things were no better than under Steve Bruce. Which was of course absolutely nonsense. The media were desperate for Newcastle fans to be angry and demand already that Eddie Howe should be sacked, they absolutely hated the fact that the vast majority of NUFC supporters wouldn’t go along with that narrative, instead so many NUFC fans stating time after time that the team were playing better and so many individuals improving under Eddie Howe, that the results would eventually follow.

I think the message is, to trust your own eyes and judgement. You shouldn’t be relying on journalists and pundits who have their own agendas, to tell you how Newcastle United have done in matches, you can see for yourself.

Just like we saw Steve Bruce fluke so many of the NUFC games he did win, we knew what the underlying performances and stats told us was the true reality. Of his 84 Premier League games in charge, Steve Bruce won 23 of them, BUT I can honestly say that I think there were only a handful or so in his 27 months in charge where I thought afterwards that Newcastle United had definitely deserved to win.

A great start by Eddie Howe and what I have seen with my own eyes so far, tells me that there is far better set to come in the future under Newcastle United’s main man.

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