Newcastle United 2020/21 Season Preview: Strengths, Weaknesses, Key Man & Prediction

07 September 2020 08:00

After the collapse of a potential takeover that would've made Newcastle one of the richest clubs in world football, it looked set to be another miserable season under Mike Ashley on Tyneside.

But that's no longer the case.

In one of the shocks of the summer - and let's face it, there have been quite a few - Newcastle have pulled off some great deals in the transfer window already, with more set to come. Last season was another spent in mid-table obscurity with no real signs of ambition at St James' Park, but at long last that appears to have changed.

Magpies supporters saw their side score just 38 goals in as many league games last season but with the addition of England international striker Callum Wilson, that tally could be transformed in the upcoming campaign.


Strengths

It may come as a shock to claim last season's fourth-lowest scorers' strengths lie in attack, but Steve Bruce has improved the quality at his disposal up front. With the addition of former Bournemouth pair Wilson and Ryan Fraser, the Newcastle forward line now has a totally different outlook.

Record signing Joelinton struggled after making his £40m move from Hoffenheim last summer but some of the pressure will have been lifted from his shoulders following the Englishman's arrival from the south coast.

Add in the enigmatic and always entertaining Allan Saint-Maximin, the energetic Miguel Almiron and Jonjo Shelvey's incredible passing range and Newcastle could be a serious threat to the best Premier League defences next season.


Weaknesses

Newcastle have a relatively thin squad and are already suffering from long-term injuries before the season has even started.

Loan stars from last season such as Danny Rose, Valentino Lazaro, Nabil Bentaleb and Jetro Willems have left the north east and Martin Dubravka and Dwight Gayle have already sustained serious issues ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.

Arsenal centre back Rob Holding has been linked with a move up north on a loan deal and the 24-year-old would be a welcome addition to a backline that is already looking a little thin.


Key Man

Wilson will be hoping for an England recall following his £20m move to Newcastle and will be equally hopeful that a reunion with Scotland international Fraser can propel his new side to a top-half finish.

The duo currently hold the record for most Premier League goal combinations in a 38-game season, with 12 coming during the 2018/19 campaign. Newcastle will be expectant that the pair can rediscover that sort of form at St James' Park.

The Magpies supporters were once graced with top strikers such as Alan Shearer, Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand, but in recent years they've had to endure far less clinical displays in front of goal. Joselu, Islam Slimani and most recently Joelinton have all struggled to live up to expectations in the famous black and white stripes, but there's a serious expectation rather than hope that Wilson can follow in his more illustrious predecessors' footsteps.

He may have only managed eight goals in the top flight as Bournemouth were relegated last season, but 41 strikes and 16 assists in 126 Premier League games for the Cherries is a respectable record that Wilson will look to build on.


Prediction

With the new signings coming in, Bruce will undoubtedly be aiming for a top ten finish. He guided his hometown club to 13th in his first season in charge and with a much-strengthened squad to hand this time around, it could be possible for Newcastle to climb into the top half of the table.

They ended up ten points behind tenth placed Burnley in 2019/20, which is a sizeable gap to close. The likes of Wolves, Leicester, Everton, Southampton, Sheffield United as well as the Clarets will also fancy their chances of joining the traditional big six in the upper echelons of the Premier League, and it should make for an interesting mid-table battle.

Prediction: Mid Table

Source: 90min