Manchester City travel north to St James’s Park to take on Newcastle United in their third Premier League match of the season. Victory for the blues will give them their third straight win, keeping them ahead of Arsenal in second place and Brentford in third. Newcastle will be looking to spoil the City party and gain their second win in three matches. Here, w take a look at Newcastle, the threat they pose and how their season has gone so far.
It’s been a good start to the Magpies. At this stage last season, Newcastle had lost their opening two games and were off the bottom of the table courtesy of a worse start by Norwich City. In fact, they had to wait until the 15th game of the season before collecting their first three points. This season, they have won one and drawn one, while not conceding any goals. They beat new boys Nottingham Forest 2-0 on the opening day, before drawing 0-0 at Brighton last weekend.
As a result, the Magpies sit in fifth place in the league and manager Eddie Howe looks to have finally steadied the Newcastle ship.
Pre-season brought some decent results, with the Magpies winning four of the six matches played. Victories over Gateshead (5-1) and 1860 Munich (3-0) were followed by defeats to I. FSV Mainz 05 (1-0) and Benfica (3-2). They closed pre-season with a 1-0 win over Atalanta and a 2-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao.
Who’s New at St James’s?
Despite the Magpies financial status, they have not flexed their muscles thus far. In fact, Newcastle have spent just £48m on three players, although the fee for goalkeeper Nick Pope’s move from Burnley is undisclosed. Newcastle paid £15m to Aston Villa for left-back Matt Targett and £33m for Dutch defender Sven Botman.
The one name that stands out on the departure list is Dwight Gayle, who joined Stoke City for an undisclosed fee. Other than that, Newcastle has kept the bulk of the team that moved them away from the relegation zone and into a respectable 11th-place finish.
With the transfer window still open for more than a week, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Magpies added to their team.
Ones to Watch
We’re only a couple of games into the season and there’s no real stats coming from the Newcastle team to get anxious about. Fabien Schar and Callum Wilson scored in their 2-0 win over Forest, with Schar creating his own chance and Joelinton providing the assist for Wilson to secure the points.
These three will need to be monitored throughout the game as each one possesses the potential to produce a moment that could unlock the blues tight defence that also hasn’t conceded a goal.
Who’s The Boss?
Former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe is at the reigns at St James’s Park. He took over from Steve Bruce in November 2021. At the time, Newcastle hadn’t won a match, the only team in the Premier League not to have taken three points, and were second from bottom after 11 matches. It took Howe four matches to gain their first victory.
A 1-1 draw at home to Watford still saw them second from bottom, but it was the start of an eight-match unbeaten run, with the Magpies winning six. That run shot them up the table and 10 points clear of the relegation zone. Three successive defeats raised the doubts again, but another four straight wins saw Howe’s team in ninth place, before their eventual finish two places lower. Howe has brought a bit of belief back to St James’s and the team are responding well.
From 30 matches, Howe has won 14 and lost 10, giving him an impressive win ratio of 47%.