Can Newcastle Go One Better Than Simply Surviving in the Premier League?

That moment when the fixtures for the new season are released is always an exciting one. It may be the middle of June, with the height of summer still to come, but it’s time to start looking towards August and new challenges. For the Toon, it’s a return to the Premier League – but what expectations can the club realistically have for the new season: great or not so great expectations?

The last thing the Magpies want to do is to become known as a yo-yo club. That’s territory that is reserved for the likes of Norwich City and Middlesbrough. Even Leicester City had that reputation once and they haven’t done too badly in recent years.

If you’d gone to Rafael Benitez and asked him how he fancied a season with some good results, some fair and a few disappointments upon his return to England’s top tier, he’d probably have been happy with that. Realistically, the Spaniard will – at least inwardly – be satisfied with a finish anywhere outside of the relegation zone. But can United do better than that? The odds of a top-half finish are 11/4 in Premier League  betting, so the bookmakers certainly seem to think so.

Early Days Success Needed

Getting off to a good start is essential for any team, particularly a newly promoted side. The dreams you have of being back in the top league in the country can soon turn into nightmares if August, September, and October fail to put some points on the table.

Looking at the new fixture list, the chance is there for Newcastle to get off to a good start. Tottenham at home in the opening weekend is obviously a toughie, so let’s hope Harry Kane’s habit of getting off to a slow start continues. After that, though, you’d be hard pressed to remember United did actually win promotion last season with games against fellow promoted sides Huddersfield Town and Brighton and Hove Albion early on. Those two matches, plus hosting West Ham and Stoke and a trip to Swansea City, give Newcastle the chance to get a good collection of points from their first six games back in the Premier League.

New Signings a Necessity

Expectations can’t be too high, though, can they? Not unless Mike Ashley suddenly decides to start buying superstars rather than former BHS stores. The signing on a permanent basis of Christian Atsu is a good start and if Tammy Abraham, who did so well on loan at Bristol City, can be signed on loan, then it’s starting to look promising.

Mid-table and perhaps a good cup run if stronger sides are played for a change, would be an ideal season. Newcastle United undoubtedly do belong in the Premier League but it’s going to be a struggle to really achieve anything apart from looking at the league table and smiling over the gap between the Toon and the relegation zone. That’s life without massive investment but it surely beats a wet midweek fixture at Preston, doesn’t it?

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