The difference a year can make in football is truly amazing.
In 2021, Newcastle United found themselves embroiled in a relegation battle. Although the PIF had just taken over the club, results on the pitch were still woeful following the departures of Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce.
However, the appointment of Eddie Howe had a transformative effect on the club, with Newcastle comfortably securing safety last term.
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And now, just a year later, Howe and co find themselves battling with the Premier League’s best for a top-four finish this season.
The Magpies were spectacular before the World Cup break, finishing the first part of their domestic campaign third in the Premier League.
So far this season, they have lost just once – to Liverpool in stoppage time – and have conceded the fewest goals combined in the league, tied with leaders Arsenal.
With how well they have played this season, Newcastle are definitely in with a chance of qualifying for a place in the Champions League, a competition they have not competed in since 2003.
However, despite their strong start, bookmakers Sky Bet make the Magpies sixth favorites to win a top spot this season.
They have Manchester City and Arsenal making the Champions League comfortably at odds of 1/100 and 1/20, while Liverpool at 4/7 are third favorites to qualify behind the current Premier League top two League.
Tottenham Hotspur are placed at 11/10 to finish in the top four, with Manchester United and Newcastle named as Sky Bet’s fifth and sixth favorites at odds of 5/4 and 11/8 respectively.
Chelsea, who finished third last term, are next on the list at odds of 10/3.
Despite their strong start, bookies feel Newcastle have over-performed so far this season. Spurs, Manchester United and Liverpool sit below the Magpies ahead of the domestic restart but have better odds of making the top four.
Although Newcastle currently sit third in the table, they will need to hit the ground running when the Premier League resumes in a few weeks’ time to give themselves the best possible chance of winning the Champions League.
A couple of quality signings in January, along with the return from injury of summer signing Alexander Isak could be all that Howe and co need to realize their top four ambitions much sooner than anyone could have predicted .
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