Newcastle Premier League 2022-23 preview, predictions: Eddie Howe key to money infused turnaround

Newcastle is a before and after story. Most of the before and after is the new sports wash Saudi ownership. Along with that, however, comes the before and after of the manager they hired, Eddie Howe. Their big escape from relegation is like few the Premier League has ever seen and that’s without spending a lot of money in January due to Financial Fair Play concerns. Prior to Howe’s relegation with Bournemouth in 2020 it looked possible he could have the inside lane for the next job that opened up in the top six, but ended up taking over a year away from training before Newcastle struck.

It was a risky move for Howe and the Magpies as they looked set to be relegated at the time, but he accepted them. Newcastle were mired in the relegation zone with City of Norwich and Burnley, both later victims of the fall at the end of the season. Newcastle looked irredeemable when Howe was appointed in November. Joint bottom of the league with just five points, they were winless in their first 11 games, scoring just 12 goals while conceding the second most in the league with 24.

The first match managed by Howe was a 2-0 defeat against Arsenal, but the improvement could be seen immediately as the Gunners went just six shots on target to Newcastle’s five in the game. From there, Newcastle would go on to pick up 44 points under Howe to finish 11th in the Premier League. Howe’s transition to a 4-3-3 and conversion Joelinton to a hardworking midfielder helped solidify the defense and their place in the Premier League. It’s no wonder that on the eve of the new season, Newcastle announced they were offering their manager a big new extension.

Transfers make the world go round

Making only modest additions, Newcastle were on pace with the top four to finish the season, which is why they are one of the hot picks to crush the European party this year. Saint James’ Park vibrated as supporters could feel the magic and reminisce about their last European appearances in the 2012-13 Europa League. In January, the Magpies made 4.5 additions in Bruno Guimaraes, Chris Wood, Dan Burn, Kieran Trippier and Matt Targett. Trippier missed most of last season with a foot injury he suffered in February, but that didn’t stop Newcastle picking up the league’s fourth-highest number of points in 2022 with 38.

Led by their defense having allowed just 20 goals in 2022, good for the fifth-best figure in the Premier League, Newcastle have laid the foundations for what could be a solid season to come. They fleshed out the back line by adding Sven Botmanand move Matt Targett’s loan from AstonVilla permanent while acquiring Nick Pope to play behind them, but Newcastle are also learning that buying goalscorers is easier said than done.

Hugo Ekitike looked set for a move to Tyneside but PSG dived in at the last moment to secure the talented youngster’s signature. For a Newcastle side who want to make the Champions League now, they quickly find they have to pay higher transfer fees or salaries to compete with traditional European powerhouses and even then teams with a competitive history at most high levels will likely prevail.

They are not giving up on making a statement to accompany Guimaraes as they now pursue James Madison. If he made a move, he’d probably be the right wing man in a front three with Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin giving Newcastle an attack that can rival West Ham and Manchester in the quest to be the best United in the Premier League. Leicester are not backing down as they demand more than the £50million offered by Newcastle.

If the Magpies are able to fit a top striker into the squad their prospects for Europe will increase, but with Howe and a strong defense in tow what they have done is raise their floor in making the team difficult to break up. Wilson and Saint-Maximin would give the team plenty of rest, but a third goalscorer is needed sooner rather than later. It’s just hard to do when the team has no real income because the expenses only go on free transfers.

Defense means everything

Given Newcastle’s set-up, it’s hard to see them falling below tenth in the league, although Howe’s success last season was due to a sustained rebound from the new manager. Trippier, Botman, Burn and Targett’s defense will be one of the best shields outside of the front six and that’s while they’re protecting England International Nick Pope. It may take a bit of Botman to switch from Lilleespecially since he will be one of the slowest central defenders in the Premier League but he knows how to position himself so as not to get caught in situations where a striker has an advantage.

Good on the ball and strong in the air, Botman and Burn make a formidable pair in the middle while also providing Trippier targets for set plays. With these five players at the top of their game, if the attack is average, Newcastle will be more than adequate. But making Europe is probably out of their hands depending on how West Ham and Manchester United perform during the season. West Ham will need to overcome depth issues to retain their place in the top eight, but with an error Newcastle can earn a place in the Europa Conference League which would be a significant step forward for the team.

With Manchester United bringing in Erik ten Hag, Howe will be keen to hope that the transition to a new style of play will see United slide to new lows bringing another team that Newcastle can overtake. While they appear to be on the cusp of a European place heading into the second half of the season, Newcastle with no heavy World Cup commitments could work in their favor to get back on track for a solid second half. Bringing Dan Ashworth from Brighton as their new sporting director means they can also make smarter decisions in the transfer market going forward. A good signing in January could be the difference between a first half and making Europe, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Newcastle were aggressive.

Howe is at the helm and the team is behind him. Everyone will just need to stay healthy. Injuries are the biggest thing that can hamper Newcastle with Wilson, Saint-Maximin and Trippier all missing a lot of time last year. If they come back down the side could slide down the table but at full strength Newcastle are knocking on the door of the big six and they can crush the party sooner rather than later.

Bold predictions

  • Premier League ranking: 8th
  • Top scorer: Callum Wilson
  • Player of the Season: Nick Pope
  • Something unexpected: Kieran Trippier scores more goals than assists recorded.

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