Gone are the days when the St.James Park faithful lamented over poor initiative taken by the owners in the transfer market.
After its takeover by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, Newcastle United has become one of the wealthiest clubs in the world. Naturally, the cash injection has led to the Magpies adding some quality players to their squad.
Last season, under the tutelage of Eddie Howe, Newcastle finished fourth, grabbing a Champions League berth. Not only that, it shared the joint-best defensive record in the Premier League along with champion Manchester City, after conceding just 33 goals.
Ahead of the 2023-24 season, Newcastle has added some quality players to its squad, like Sandro Tonali, Harvey Barnes and Tony Livramento, and is sure to challenge the big boys in securing a strong position yet again.
As the new season starts tomorrow, let’s take a look at Newcastle’s possible shape on the pitch.
Nick Pope will be the undisputed No.1 for the Magpies between the sticks in the 2023-24 season.
Pope is a modern keeper who does not fear coming off his line to aid his defence. A confident presence in goal, Pope maintained excellent communication with his backline throughout last season and was a crucial factor in maintaining Newcastle’s excellent defensive record in the Premier League.
Last season in the league, he let in 32 goals and bagged 14 clean sheets in 34 appearances.
Till now, Newcastle has not made any investment to upgrade its backline, which means that it will go with the dependable back-four of Dan Burn, Sven Botman, Fabian Schar and Kieran Trippier. Why tinker with something that has worked out so well? That is surely Eddie Howe’s driving principle in keeping faith in his first-choice backline, after seeing them perform so well last season.
With Botman and Schar’s solid presence in the heart of the defence, Trippier will play his natural role of joining the attack from the flanks and offering width for the Magpies. Also, let us not forget about his threat from set-pieces. The full-back bagged 10 assists in 46 appearances in all competitions last season.
Talking about Newcastle’s midfield, the first topic of discussion has to be the acquisition of former AC Milan player, Sandro Tonali for a fee of 55 million pounds.
While there were reports that Tonali did not want to leave the club, he is a Newcastle player now and will look to offer his qualities on the pitch. Great at breaking up opponent attacks, he will most likely be the focal point between Newcastle’s defence and midfield. Known for his vision and ability to read the game, Tonali can also play the role of a deep-lying playmaker.
Along with Tonali in midfield, will be the dependable duo of Joelinton and Bruno Guimaraes, who has impressed for the Magpies since he joined the club. An expert in finding space between the channels, the Brazilian is equally adept in creating chances and scoring goals.
With Tonali’s addition, the midfield trio of Tonali-Joelinton and Guimaraes can prove to be a headache for opponents as the season progresses.
Eddie Howe has an exciting player in Harvey Barnes, who is the newest addition to the Magpie’s forward-line. Splashing out 39 million pounds on the former Leicester player, Newcastle will have a great ball carrier in Barnes, who is good at getting past the opposition full-backs. While not the most skilful of players on the ball, Barnes is known to create a good understanding with his forward lines, playing a lot of one-twos to break down the opponent’s defence.
Joining Barnes in attack will be right-winger Miguel Almiron and centre-forward Alexander Isak. Almiron is a dangerous presence on the right flank, with his pace and trickery on the ball. On his day, he can be a headache for any full-back. Last season, he scored 11 goals in the Premier League.
Isak, who will be operating in the No.9 role, will look to take full advantage of his aerial prowess, along with finding space between defenders and getting behind them. With Barnes and Almiron on either flank, service shouldn’t be an issue. The Sweden forward will look to better his tally of 10 goals that he scored in the Premier League last season.
Newcastle United Predicted XI
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