Newcastle United will have been in a Champions League qualifying position for a period of 64 days by the time we get to NUFC’s next game.
Eddie Howe’s side moved into the top four after victory at Tottenham on Sunday 23 October.
Then, two games and two wins (at Villa, away at Southampton) later, Newcastle United finished third. Victory at home to Chelsea ensured NUFC remained in third and comfortably in a Champions League qualifying position, albeit with just 15 games of the season played so far by Newcastle United.
A win over Leicester on Boxing Day would ensure Newcastle are still third when we enter 2023, regardless of results elsewhere. Although a Champions League qualification position is at least assured on January 1, 2023, if they beat the Foxes or Leeds.
Whisper it softly, but wins in the next two PL games for Eddie Howe’s side, if combined with another defeat at Man City’s Brentford at Leeds, or at home to Everton, would see the Newcastle United enter the new year in second place and above Pep Guardiola. side In fact, ahead of everyone except Arsenal.
Nurse, nurse, I need to lie down.
Anyway, the bottom line is that Eddie Howe has us there fighting for a Champions League qualification spot as things stand. The big question is, can he and his side keep it up?
Oliver Kay writing in The Athletic:
“Do Newcastle need to buy to secure Champions League football?
To watch Newcastle in recent weeks, taking 22 points from their last eight Premier League games and scoring 21 goals in the process, has been to witness an extraordinary transformation in a team that won just one of their opening 20 games last season.
Yes, they have spent a significant amount of money in the transfer market since then – around £90m last January and more than that in the summer – but for all the benefits brought by Kieran Trippier, Bruno Guimaraes and others, no one witnessed the improvement. in the play of Fabian Schar, Sean Longstaff, Joelinton, Joe Willock and Miguel Almiron would underestimate new manager Eddie Howe’s impact on the training ground.
To their delight, Newcastle are third in the Premier League at Christmas, in serious contention for Champions League qualification. Whatever schedule they had planned after the Saudi takeover last fall, Howe and his team were pushing ahead.
So how do they face the second of January in charge of the new regime?
New sporting director Dan Ashworth has said the club’s spending levels over the past two transfer windows are “unsustainable”, due to the Premier League’s financial regulations. Even the club’s private briefings have suggested next January will be quiet.
But the club is in a position where Champions League qualification, and the riches and profile that comes with it, is possible. Could one or two well-judged moves in the winter window make the difference – Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk, for example, or one of Leicester City midfielders Youri Tielemans and James Maddison?
The one thing we can say with confidence, based on everything we know about Ashworth and Howe, is that they won’t be scared off by the kind of knee-jerk signing that so many other new and ultra-rich ownership schemes have found irresistible .
Every signing made during the last 12 months has been well thought out; although Chris Wood was overpriced at £25m, his impact last season was positive and his departure to Tyneside certainly hurt Burnley, who at the time were Newcastle’s direct rivals in a battle of descent
Another high-class midfielder or a versatile striker, capable of playing in the front line, would have obvious appeal, but Howe is one of those managers who constantly talks about ‘the group’ and would not want to risk upsetting the balance between the team or the spirit that has been so integral to their progress.
The way Newcastle have been, they might feel they can reach the Champions League with the squad they have.
The Howe effect has been extraordinary.
Interesting stuff from Oliver Kay, who was writing about all sorts of Premier League possibilities as things stand, from Arsenal staying top and winning the title to whether Frank Lampard will relegate Everton and can keep the new ex-Real Madrid boss from Wolves. .
Among these, does Oliver Kay think Newcastle United could maintain their position in the Champions League qualification places at the end of the season?
The thing is, this season’s form isn’t coming out of the blue, it’s actually coming out of black and white. As in, there has been no gray area so far throughout the duration of 2022. Eddie Howe leads Newcastle United with 20 (TWENTY) Premier League wins this calendar year and just six (SIX) defeats.
If you’re wondering how some other clubs have fared in 2022 in terms of Premier League defeats this calendar year, so far:
3 City of man
11 Man United
I think that sums it up, at least for me, that Man City are still very much the one to beat. Yes, they have a very odd day like Brentford did last time… but there are only three PL defeats in 2022.
Liverpool perhaps a slightly different case, having gone from no defeats last season in 2022 to now four in 14 PL games this season, as well as being very lucky in other PL games already this campaign. ..
Arsenal are in good form this season, of course, but along with Chelsea, Man Utd and Tottenham, they have all lost more PL games this season than Newcastle United. In fact, Newcastle have won three of those four and certainly deserved to win at Old Trafford when Callum Wilson was ludicrously denied that clearest penalty.
What I think we can safely say is that the likes of Tottenham, Chelsea and Man Utd are certainly not unbeatable these days, whether it’s individual league games or final table positions. Although there are also question marks over Liverpool this season and the big question of whether Arsenal can keep it up.
Of course, that comment could also apply to Newcastle United, but certainly this whole 2022 form is something that can give Newcastle fans confidence that this could be sustainable.
Going back to what the man from The Athletic said.
Will Newcastle United buy Champions League qualification? Or if they even need…
Well, I think this report gets it about 85% correct.
Like any other team, Newcastle United will, at least in part, rely on luck and avoid injuries to key players.
On the evidence of what we’ve seen so far, Oliver Kay is of course very right to praise Eddie Howe for the impact on existing players.
When it comes to spending money and signing players, the Athletic man mostly gets it right.
However, outsiders… including Oliver Kay, fail to recognize that while around £200m have been spent on signings in 2022, in terms of success this season we are only talking about a little more of half that money at stake (never mind all those years and Mike Ashley’s minimal / low spending transfer windows).
Chris Wood (£25m) was a (relatively) expensive short-term solution to avoid relegation and would never have been signed at all but for Wilson’s serious injury five days before ‘open the January 2022 window, leaving NUFC without a single Premier. Facing league level and staring relegation in the face.
While £63m (£59m plus future top-ups of £4m) Alexander Isak has only managed three PL games and NUFC have only picked up two points (Isak is not to blame, although if only he had increased this chance on the goalkeeper…) that trio of games before the injury.
Not much more than £100m to put Pope, Trippier, Burn, Bruno and Botman on the pitch (and Targett currently on the bench) is exceptional business and something like Chelsea (over a quarter of a thousand millions spent this summer) and Forest. (around £145m spent this summer) could only dream.
Going back to the original question posed by The Athletic man, this group of players at Newcastle United (with Isak and ASM looking for strength next month) have certainly shown that they have the potential to stay the course.
However, signing an addition or two in this upcoming transfer window wouldn’t hurt.
I daydream and wonder what the reaction of Eddie Howe and the owners of NUFC would be if they say Newcastle beat Leicester, Leeds and Arsenal in their next three Premier League games AND you see other results.
How would the approach change, if at all, in this January 2023 window, knowing that games against Fulham, Palace, West Ham and Bournemouth would follow. After that we would be at a point of 22 games played and only 16 PL games left to play.
The possibilities are endless.