Newcastle United will have been in a Champions League qualifying position for 64 days when they play their next match.
Eddie Howe’s side went into fourth place after beating Tottenham on Sunday, October 23.
Newcastle United finished third after two games and two victories (at home to Villa and away to Southampton). Newcastle United remained third and comfortably in a Champions League qualifying position after defeating Chelsea at home, despite having only played 15 games this season.
A victory against Leicester on Boxing Day would keep Newcastle in third place come 2023, independent of other outcomes. While defeating either Leicester City or Leeds City ensures a Champions League qualifying spot on January 1, 2023.
Wins in the next two Premier League games for Eddie Howe’s club, along with another Brentford-style Man City slip-up loss at Leeds or at home to Everton, would see Newcastle United enter the new year second and ahead of Pep Guardiola’s side. Except for Arsenal, they are indeed ahead of everyone else.
Nurse, Nurse, Nurse I need to rest.
Anyway, the basic truth is that Eddie Howe now has us competing for a Champions League qualifying spot. The key issue is whether he and his team can keep it up.
‘Does Newcastle need to spend money to qualify for the Champions League?’
To watch Newcastle in recent weeks, when they have taken 22 points from their last eight Premier League games and scored 21 goals, has been to see an astonishing metamorphosis in a side who won just one of their first 20 games last season.
Yes, they have spent a significant amount of money in the transfer market since then — around £90 million in January and more than that in the summer — but nobody watching the improvement in the play of Fabian Schar, Sean Longstaff, Joelinton, Joe Willock, and Miguel Almiron would underestimate the impact made by new head coach Eddie Howe on the training ground.
Newcastle find themselves in third place in the Premier League at Christmas, and in genuine contention for Champions League qualifying. Whatever timeline they anticipated after the Saudi acquisition last October, Howe and his crew are ahead of it.
So, how are they preparing for the new regime’s second January in office?
Due to Premier League financial constraints, the club’s expenditure levels during the last two transfer windows, according to new sports director Dan Ashworth, are “unsustainable.” Even private club briefings have indicated that this coming January would be quiet.
However, the team is in a situation where Champions League qualifying, with the associated wealth and prestige, is feasible. Could one or two well-timed winter transfers, such as Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk or Leicester City midfielders Youri Tielemans and James Maddison, make a difference?
Based on all we know about Ashworth and Howe, we can declare with certainty that they will not be scared into the sort of knee-jerk signing that so many other new, highly affluent ownership regimes have found tempting.
Every transfer made in the previous year has been carefully considered; even though Chris Wood was overvalued at £25 million, his influence last season was beneficial, and his move to Tyneside surely harmed Burnley, who were direct rivals of Newcastle in the relegation race at the time.
Another high-level midfielder or versatile forward capable of playing across the front line would be obvious candidates, but Howe is one of those coaches who constantly talks about “the group,” and he would not want to risk upsetting the team’s balance or the spirit that has been so important to their success.
Newcastle may believe they can reach the Champions League with the team they currently have.
The Howe impact has been phenomenal.’
Oliver Kay was writing about all kinds of Premier League possibilities, from Arsenal remaining top and winning the championship to whether Frank Lampard can relegate Everton and if Wolves’ new former Real Madrid manager can keep them up.
Between them, is Oliver Kay thinking about Newcastle United maybe remaining in the Champions League qualifying slots at the conclusion of the season?
The point is, this season’s form isn’t coming out of nowhere; it’s coming out of black and white. As in, there has been no grey area for the whole duration of 2022. Eddie Howe has led Newcastle United to 20 (TWENTY) Premier League triumphs and just six (SIX) losses this season.
If you’re curious how other teams fared in 2022 in terms of Premier League losses this calendar year, here’s a rundown:
Manchester City 3
Manchester United 11
I believe this sums up, at least for me, that Man City are still the team to beat. Yes, they have the occasional off day, like Brentford last time out… However, three Premier League loses in 2022 is not bad.
Miguel Almiron, Jack Grealish
Liverpool may be a somewhat different example, since they went from having no losses at all last season in 2022 to currently having four in 14 Premier League matches this season, as well as having exceptional luck in a handful of other PL games already this season…
Arsenal has been in terrific form this season, yet they, along with Chelsea, Manchester United, and Tottenham, have all lost more Premier League matches than Newcastle United. Indeed, Newcastle have beaten three of these four, and they may have deserved to win at Old Trafford when Callum Wilson was wrongfully denied the clearest of penalties.
What I believe we can state with certainty is that the likes of Tottenham, Chelsea, and Manchester United are no longer invincible, whether in individual league matches or overall table positions. While there are also doubts about Liverpool’s season and if Arsenal can keep it going.
That statement could, of course, be used to Newcastle United, but this whole 2022 form may give Newcastle supporters confidence that this might be sustainable.
Returning to what the dude from The Athletic had to say.
Newcastle United to pay to enter the Champions League? Or if they even have to…
So, I believe this information is 85% true.
Newcastle United, like every other club, will be banking on luck and avoiding important player injuries.
Regarding the data so far, Oliver Kay is, of course, accurate in praising Eddie Howe for his influence on existing players.
The Athletic guy is generally accurate when it comes to spending money and signing players.
Outsiders, including Oliver Kay, fail to recognise that, while around £200 million has been spent on signings in 2022, when it comes to the success so far this season, we are only talking about just over half that money in play (never mind all those years and transfer windows of minimal / low Mike Ashley spend).
Chris Wood (£25m) was a (relatively) expensive short-term fix to avoid relegation and would not have been signed at all if Wilson’s serious injury had occurred five days before the January 2022 transfer window opened, leaving NUFC without a single Premier League level striker and staring relegation in the face.
While worth £63 million (£59 million + £4 million in potential add-ons), Alexander Isak has only played three Premier League games and NUFC has only picked up two points (Isak is not to blame, but if only he’d hoisted that opportunity over the keeper…) in the three games before to injury
Not much more than £100 million to put Pope, Trippier, Burn, Bruno, and Botman on the field (with Targett now on the bench) is excellent business and something Chelsea (almost a quarter of a billion spent this summer) and Forest (about £145 million spent this summer) could only dream of.
Burn Tripper Pope Botman Schar
To return to the initial issue presented by the guy from The Athletic, this bunch of Newcastle United players (with Isak and ASM seeking to push their way in next month) have unquestionably shown their ability to stay the course.
However, adding one or two players in the upcoming transfer window wouldn’t hurt.
I fantasise and wonder what Eddie Howe and the NUFC owners would think if Newcastle defeated Leicester, Leeds, and Arsenal in their next three Premier League games AND other outcomes went their way.
How, if at all, would the strategy alter for the January 2023 window, knowing that games against Fulham, Palace, West Ham, and Bournemouth would follow? After that, we’d have 22 games played with just 16 Premier League games remaining.
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