It was an excellent season in the North East for Newcastle United. Their promotion back from the Championship was treated with optimism and delight that a classic Premier League side was back. They dominated the Championship storming to promotion and they carried this momentum forward into their Premier League return. Finishing in the top half, Newcastle excelled expectations and played some good football along way delighting the Newcastle faithful. Rafa Benitez has been a sensational job at the club even with difficult owner Mike Ashley not giving him everything he wants and Newcastle’s for sale status. Rafa Benitez has created a hard-working team with flare and the Newcastle fans do admire the Spaniard and they will hope they can do bigger and better things this season by potentially winning a cup or securing another top half finish. Benitez always wants to improve, and this resonates with his team and he has united the fan base by giving them a team to be proud off.
Newcastle’s foundations for success is certainly built on a solid defensive line. Benitez is renowned for his solid defences which allow his passing style to be incorporated. Captain Jamaal Lascelles was fantastic in the heart of Newcastle’s defence leading by example from the back and he is a true leader in Newcastle’s team. Lascelles was crucial in everything positive about Newcastle last season and they will desperate to keep him at the club with bigger clubs potentially circling. However, Newcastle aren’t just built on an excellent defence because they have an abundance of attacking flare including Matt Ritchie and Ayoze Perez. The latter was magnificent during the second half of the season in particular scoring goals and creating chances which fired Newcastle into the top 10. However, Matt Ritchie also played an integral role with crucial goals and lots of positive energy and creativity. Benitez will hope to keep him with interest from other clubs being made clear so far this summer. Furthermore, Newcastle’s midfield is also showing positive signs of an excellent partnership with the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Mohamed Diame playing vital box to box roles which help Newcastle attack and defend. Benitez has unlocked Jonjo Shelvey giving him creative license with his passing range only getting better. Shelvey has grown as a footballer and Benitez has really begun to get the best out of him. However, Shelvey still has a petulant side that needs addressing with needless challenges and poor lapses in his attitude tarnishing his solid midfield attributes. Shelvey needs to address this side of the game because if he can curb these petulant ideals, he could become a very excellent midfielder. Benitez has lots of confidence in his squad and he knows they can give him more but the role Mike Ashley has taken at the club, leaves Benitez in difficult situations in terms of a sale of the club and his chances of signing who he wants in transfer windows. Benitez has been left frustrated on several occasions but despite this, his commitment to Newcastle is evident and he should be truly respected for the job done in the North East. The Newcastle fans will be desperate to keep him because he has had lots of success and clubs are certain to be interested in him. Benitez does have a difficult relationship with Mike Ashley due to his decision to sale Newcastle and not give him the transfer spending he wants. The Newcastle fans do have sympathy with Benitez and they must keep him at the club because if he leaves, it could be a difficult season for Newcastle.
As previously discussed, the transfer window is a difficult time for Benitez and his coaching team with Mike Ashley not giving him a lot of money to spend and Benitez has reiterated before he needs to wheel and deal to get what he wants at Newcastle. Benitez has been active in this transfer window so far by signing Swansea midfielder Ki and defender Fabian Schar. Ki will add some creativity to Newcastle’s midfielder while Schar will add a strong steel to Newcastle’s defence and give Benitez plenty of options to change his defence if he needs too. Furthermore, Benitez has brought continuity during this transfer window by re-signing Martin Dubravka and Kenedy. Both players made a vital difference during the second half of the season helping Newcastle secure top 10 status. Kenedy was excellent creatively and he will add pace and power to Newcastle’s left-hand side. However, Benitez will certainly want more creativity in his squad with Newcastle lacking a potent goal threat in many games during the previous season. A creative midfielder and new striker will be high on his shopping list. Goals were Newcastle’s biggest issue with strikers Dwight Gayle, Joselu not reaching double figures while Perez excelled, Newcastle desperately need more up top and Benitez will certainly have his targets. However, another issue that needs addressing is Newcastle’s fringe players. Benitez will be desperate to get players such as Henri Saivet, Rolando Aarons and Aleksandar Mitrovic to get him vital funds to improve his squad. The latter will attractive interest after his excellent campaign at Fulham and it probably would be best for Mitrovic to leave the club with his relationship with Benitez being very strained. A good deal for him will allow Newcastle to strengthen their strike force. Benitez will want players willing to work hard, fit his philosophy and fight for the club and the Newcastle fans will back him all the way.
This could another good season for Newcastle with many not expecting to achieve too much. Newcastle have gone under the radar with expectations not very high meaning they could be the potential surprise package this season. If Benitez can get the players he wants and continue the good form the team has showed this could be an exciting season in the North East. Newcastle have a magnificent fanbase and they will be desperate for the glory days to return and they will believe Benitez is the man to do that however, with negative owner Mike Ashley it could just be another season for comfortable safety and a mid-table finish. Newcastle has so much potential and they will hope to do better with a more ambitious voice leading the club at the top. Benitez will want to do better this season but realistically if they secure their Premier League status for a 3rd straight season that will be deemed successful and anything above that will be nothing short off brilliant.