Saturday, October 21, 2017

Can Newcastle continue their current good run of form?

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 23 Sep 2017

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I have to say when Newcastle struggled to bring in players in the summer it was hard to envisage anything other than a relegation battle for the Magpies. Boss Rafa Benitez seemed a frustrated figure with the clubs lack of summer additions.

The squad did not seem good enough for the English top-flight, with a number of players relegated with the Magpies in their last stint in the Premier League.

The north east side also started their campaign with two consecutive league defeats, which only added to the Magpies worries. However, they have now recorded three straight wins in the top-flight. The team’s recent performances have belied those pre-season predictions of doom and gloom.

A trip to fellow Premier League new boys Brighton Hove Albion on Sunday seemingly represents a good chance to extend their recent winning run in the top-flight.

Playing for their boss

Newcastle boss Benitez is highly experienced and is a man that comes across as a good guy. The Spaniard brought in a number of the current squad. The team’s recent performances reflect the players respect for their boss.

Benitez has enjoyed a fair bit of success during his managerial career. That obviously will lead to huge respect from the players he manages. The Spaniard can create a team that is much better than its part and improve players.

Star players are shining

While there were question marks over some of Newcastle’s squad at the start of the campaign, a number of players have impressed of late. Two of the stars of the campaign so far are centre-back Jamaal Lascelles and winger Matt Ritchie.

Lascelles has been talked about a potential star since his days at Nottingham Forest in the Championship. The 23-year-old has not only contributed to the Magpies keeping two clean sheets in their last two top-flight games, but also scored goals in the last two league games.

The Newcastle captain is enjoying life in the Premier League. His boss has praised him in the media. The former Liverpool boss even suggested that an England call-up may not be too far away.

When Bournemouth allowed Scotland international Matt Ritchie leave for Newcastle last summer it seemed a strange decision. The winger turned out to be a key player in the Magpies promotion campaign. He scored 12 goals and also produced seven assists.

The 28-year-old has already produced four assists in the Premier League this season. His threat from dead-ball situations is a major weapon in the Magpies armoury, especially with the aerial threat of Lascelles.

Ritchie is an influential player in the Newcastle team and is odds of 8/1 to open the scoring in Sunday’s clash with Brighton.

Brighton not an easy game

There was very little between Brighton and Newcastle last season in the Championship. However, the Magpies did the double over the Seagulls and pipped Sunday’s opponents to the second tier title.

Newcastle have enjoyed a better league campaign than their fellow promoted side. However, Chris Hughton’s side have not been embarrassed in any of their games this season. All their top-flight games have been relatively tight this season.

One man who will pose a massive danger to Lascelles and co. is German attacking midfielder Pascal Gross. The 26-year-old joined on a free transfer in the summer after suffering relegation from the Bundesliga last season with Ingolstadt.

Despite suffering relegation, Gross created the highest amount of chances in the German top-flight last season. Like Ritchie, Gross is a dead-ball specialist and created an incredible 99 chances in 33 appearances in the Bundesliga.

Gross has already been at it this season, producing two goals and produced as many assists in his last two Premier League assists. Newcastle will have to contain the playmaker if they are to continue their good run in the Premier League.

Newcastle are on a good run of form, which has slightly quelled the fans annoyance at the clubs hierarchy for not bringing in more quality players in the summer.

However, the Magpies current run is only likely to last so long and after that, the fans will likely once again turn on owner Mike Ashley. For now though, Newcastle fans will be hoping their side can pick up another win this weekend and stay in the league’s top-four.

Can Newcastle continue their current good run of form?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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