Newcastle will have even more of a battle in fighting relegation this season after the rather underwhelming appointment of Steve Bruce as head coach. Bruce has never finished above 10th in his Premier League managerial career with two relegations on his CV to boot.
It must also be argued that Rafael Benítez played a huge part in the Magpies’ overachievements in their past two seasons since being promoted. His departure along with last season’s top scorers Rondón and Pérez suggests a season of struggle ahead for the Toon Army. 17th place is my prediction.
Expected Line-up in a 5-3-1-1 formation
*At the time of writing, Matt Ritchie is to shortly undergo a scan on his hamstring.
Both full-backs provide the width in the team and will make plenty of crosses into the box.
Longstaff and Shelvey are a threat from long-range and will be less defensive than Hayden.
Almirón’s threatening pace will be useful for counter-attacks and linking up closely with Joelinton.
- Penalties – Ritchie (5.5m)
- Direct free kicks – Shelvey (5m) & Schär (5m)
- Indirect free kicks & corners – Ritchie & Shelvey
Opening 10 Fixtures
ARL, nor, tot, WAT, liv, BHA, lei, MUN, che, WOL, whu
With Newcastle playing 5 members of the ‘top 6’, they certainly face one of the toughest starts and all assets should be avoided to begin with, in my opinion, until the team settles down under Bruce.
Players to Consider Going Forward
Jamal Lascelles (4.5m) – The captain at the heart of the defence has undergone a 0.5m price drop from last season but still has a reasonable goal threat from set-pieces and is a bonus point magnet. However, there has to be a question mark over clean sheets now that Benítez’s defensively minded tactics no longer exist.
Matt Ritchie (5.5m) – Listed as a defender and presumed to still be on penalty and set-pieces, the team relies upon him for his crosses into the box so he has decent assist potential.
Joelinton (6m) – The Magpies’ record signing needs to hit the ground running quickly if his team are to have any hope of staying up. 7 goals and 5 assists from last season in the Bundesliga with Hoffenheim for the 22 year old shows plenty of promise. He is renowned for his dribbling skills and hold-up play so the lone striker role ought to suit him. The 6m FPL price tag could prove to be a steal.