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Opinion

9 changes against Crystal Palace as Eddie Howe ‘revolution’ already well under way, despite his protests…

4 weeks ago
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It was five days ago when Eddie Howe was quizzed about his 2022 summer transfer window plans.

This was ahead of the win against Leicester City that moved Newcastle United another massive step closer to safety.

If Eddie Howe makes it six home victories in a row tonight against Crystal Palace, it would move United onto the ‘magical’ 40 points mark and surely absolutely no remaining fears of relegation whatsoever.

When speaking last Friday about what will happen this summer, assuming Premier League status is confirmed, Eddie Howe (see below) insisted ‘I do not think that it will be the revolution that everyone thinks it will be…I do not think it will ever be a case of wholesale changes.’

Well, have a look at these two starting elevens…

Newcastle team v Leicester (17 April 2022 at St James Park, game ending 2-1):

Dubravka, Krafth, Schar, Burn, Targett, Joelinton, Guimaraes, Shelvey, Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Wood

Newcastle team v Crystal Palace (23 October 2021 at Selhurst Park, game ending 1-1):

Darlow, Manquillo, Lascelles, Clark, Ritchie, Krafth, Hayden, S.Longstaff, Fraser, Saint-Maximin, Wilson

The draw at Palace was the first game for interim boss Graeme Jones, whilst less than three months later, the home win over Leicester was a 21st PL Newcastle United game for Eddie Howe.

Inside six months and 21 Premier League games, Eddie Howe has made nine changes, almost an entirely new starting eleven.

Indeed, if Kieran Trippier was fit then he’d have been playing instead of Krafth on Sunday, whilst with Allan Saint-Maximin struggling to get back to form and full fitness, if Ryan Fraser had been available then no surprise if he’d have started instead of ASM.

We would have been talking about an absolutely different starting eleven, so whatever Eddie Howe says, his ‘revolution’ is well and truly underway!

Indeed, looking at that starting eleven against Palace just under six months ago, I don’t think there is any guarantee that any of those eleven players will even definitely still be at Newcastle when the 2022/23 season kicks off. I think it is very likely that Wilson and Fraser will still be at St James Park, whilst every chance ASM will be, though there are the rumours of selling him to raise funds to help with the ‘revolution’ and bringing in new / alternative talent.

However, the first eight named in that team v Palace back in October 2021, a very different matter.

This group of players perfectly illustrate in many ways the failure under Mike Ashley to allow proper investment at the club, as six of them (Darlow, Lascelles, Clark, Ritchie, Hayden, Sean Longstaff) were at St James Park back in 2016/17 when promotion was won…and are still here now. Whilst the other two (Krafth and Manquillo) were the kind of cheap and cheerful signings that then typified Ashley’s approach after that 2016/17 promotion.

Moving on to looking ahead and August 2022 when next season kicks off, I think the first three players on the team sheet are January signings Trippier, Bruno and Burn (Targett would be a fourth definite for me if loan deal made permanent). As for the rest of the starting eleven that will kick off next season, only time (and the summer transfer window) will tell…

Eddie Howe talking about the summer 2022 transfer window – 15 April 2022:

“I am happy with this squad…while still acknowledging that time never stands still.

“You have to continue to improve and evolve.

“So I have no problem looking outward and saying we do need certain things.

“However, I do not think that it will be the revolution that everyone thinks it will be…and it can’t be, because we are under financial (fair play) restrictions.

“It is not a case of just signing anybody.

“That would never be the way I work anyway because every individual has to fit within the structure of the team and make the team better, not just the individual.

“That is fundamental to our future.

“So for all those different reasons, I do not think it will ever be a case of wholesale changes.”

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