The start of the season has been, as you might expect, a rollercoaster one for Newcastle United. A club that never knows normality, the Toon have ‘enjoyed’ a rather strange start to the season. While many presumed they would be fighting relegation for most of the season due to a rather limited squad, they have instead been in and around the top half.
Under the tutelage of Rafael Benitez the club is in good hands. But a poor transfer window that seen little come in quality-wise and a rather mediocre squad in general left many wondering how they would get on this year. Throw in the on/off takeover bid, too, and it would be easy to see if the club had taken its eye off the ball a touch.
Thanks to the likes of a reborn Chancel Mbemba – despite not playing as much as you might expect – and the excellent Mikel Merino, though, the club has been in fine form. Players such as Jamal Lascelles – one of their ever-presents alongside guys like Matt Ritchie and Joselu – have also impressed a fair touch.
Benitez has done a fine job with a squad that is, frankly, lacking in quality. While the takeover might come sooner rather than later, the chances are that it won’t have happened by January. This means that Benitez is likely to have to go again with what he already has, which is a bit of an issue for the club.
He lacks the depth to maintain the form they have at present, and a massive lack of goals is likely to come back and hurt the club in the medium-term. If Benitez can maintain form from his core group of players then Newcastle should be fine, but we expect depth to catch-up to them.
They simply lack the kind of quality player that you might expect a team of this ability to have on the books. While that could easily change in time, we don’t expect it to until the takeover happens. A top half finish would be excellent; staying up, though, is enough.
While it would be nice to see them return to the top of the table, it seems like Newcastle are in a touch of limbo until the takeover happens. With funds unlikely to be offered, we’d imagine a poor run of form isn’t far off, despite Benitez’ tactical qualities.