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Opinion

Next season – Newcastle United measuring progress

2 weeks ago
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With Newcastle United having reached 43 points after only 38 Premier League matches, fans have had the rare luxury of being able to now look further ahead than the next match.

Enjoying the remaining games, hoping to cause upsets and influence the title race when facing Liverpool and Man City, a final home day (night!) when having a hand in deciding who gets the fourth Champions League spot as Arsenal visit St James Park, before potentially playing a key role in deciding who gets the third relegation spot when visiting Burnley.

However, only eleven short weeks after that trip to Turf Moor, will see Newcastle United kick off their 2022/23 Premier League season campaign.

As ever, so many pundits, journalists and rival fans want to portray Newcastle supporters as deluded, wanting to claim / believe that NUFC fans think it is a racing certainty that their team will be battling it out at the very top next season.

Interestingly / bizarrely, I think this has prompted a strange response from the United fanbase.

Claims that Newcastle United fans think their team will take the Premier League by storm, has instead led many of them / us to head in the opposite direction.

When I hear and read what so many Newcastle fans are saying, it is typically that a top half finish would represent great progress next season.

Which I admit to find amusing.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t consider it failure if Newcastle United ended the 2022/23 season in tenth spot (or higher).

However, by the same token, with fair luck Eddie Howe and his players could have every chance of making far more progress in the next 12 months.

Considering Eddie Howe already has Newcastle currently top half, despite taking over a broken team / squad that looked doomed for sure and with no wins in the first eleven matches, top half next season is surely the very minimum we should be aiming / hoping (not taking for granted) for next season. Indeed, it was December 2021 and already 14 games had gone by, before Newcastle got their first win of this current 2021/22 season. Then late January 2022 and the 20th Premier League match before a second win was achieved.

In a remarkable six months, Howe has an overall Premier League record of won 11, drawn 5 and lost 8, 38 points in 24 PL games, at an average of 1.58 points a match, which over a 38 game run would equal 60 points.

Whilst if we allow Eddie Howe a little breathing space, time to get his feet under the table, before judging him this season. You have a last 15 PL games record of won 10, drawn 1 and lost 4, 31 points in 15 games at an average of 2.07 points per match, which over a 38 game season would equal at least 78 points.

I take nothing for granted but I think it is surely reasonable to believe that given fair luck, Eddie Howe is capable of producing the kind of return he has already done in the six months he has been at NUFC, over a full season.

Considering the shambles he inherited from Brucey and Ashley, plus with more expected backing from ambitious new owners, 60 points is surely very achievable next season. These past five seasons, 60 points were enough for (working backwards) ninth, sixth, seventh, seventh and eighth. Whilst this current season it is very much looking like 60 points would give you seventh.

As for 78 points…that would have given you second place last season and it would equal third this season, behind the two class teams in the Premier League.

When next season kicks off, compared to August 2021, Newcastle United will be starting the season with a better Head Coach, better team, better squad, absolute backing from the fans and a club with ambitious owners.

Newcastle United will be making progress, just a case of how far that will prove to be, as the neglect of a near decade and a half of Mike Ashley is left in the past.

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