With the transfer window slamming shut it begs the question, is Newcastle’s squad currently good enough to win the league/gain automatic promotion? I will be going through each position and seeing whether they are good enough to match Newcastle’s goals.
In this position, Newcastle currently employ Rob Elliot, Matz Sels and Karl Darlow (not including Tim Krul who is currently out on loan). I don’t think any upgrades are necessary as the club already have a few very capable goalkeepers. Karl Darlow has been a standout player, producing several top class saves and saving his team several times. Rob Elliot also stood out as a top, top player until his injury which forced him out for the remainder of the campaign. His most notable save has to be his magnificent save in the last Tyne-Wear derby which ended 1-1. Finally, we have Matz Sels, I’m personally not a fan of Sels and I think our current keepers are better than him. However, he could be a good backup keeper if injuries force out Darlow and Elliot.
Verdict: No upgrades needed
Newcastle are already stacked with defenders. Currently, the club have four centre-backs and six full-backs. That is a lot, however, only one or two are Premier League quality, in my opinion. I don’t think Hanley, Clark and Dummett are up to scratch for the Premier league with Sterry being too young at the minute. I think the club could do with another centre-half for England’s top tier. A replacement for Dummett is also needed as he is one of the worst players at the club (sorry Paul).
Verdict: A centre back and a full back needed
Newcastle’s midfield has been the deciding factor between winning or losing. Jonjo Shelvey has been Newcastle’s best player by a mile this season. The Englishman has made his 40 yard passes a speciality at Newcastle. Newcastle rely on Shelvey for every match. If you want to see how reliant we are on him, check our matches when he was suspended. Some call him the English Pirlo, I wouldn’t go that far. If Pirlo keeps on adding to his game he can maybe match Shelvey’s ability.
Now we have Shelvey’s midfield partner Isaac Hayden. Hayden is a very energetic midfielder who compliments Shelvey perfectly. The pair make the whole team tick. Every time he gets knocked down, he gets back up. The surprise performer for this season has to be Yoan Gouffran. The Frenchman has taken the league by storm.
The surprise performer for this season has to be Yoan Gouffran. The Frenchman has taken the league by storm. He’s gone from an outsider to starting every match. No one expected this resurgence but I think Gouffran has found his level in this league and isn’t Premier League quality but let’s just wait and see, who knows how he’ll perform.
The next player I’ll be looking at is Jack Colback. The local boy signed on a free from rivals Sunderland. I like his story but hate seeing him on the pitch. Colback was brought into the side to replace Shelvey but it ended up being a massive downgrade. He never passes forward, always backwards and sideways and constantly gives away fouls; for example, we lost to Blackburn because of him giving away a free kick.
Verdict: One backup midfielder needed
In this section, I’ll be including strikers and wingers. First, we have Dwight Gayle who is the top scorer in the Championship with 20 goals. This is the first time a Newcastle player has scored 20+ goals in a season since Alan Shearer. Gayle has been a key player for Newcastle this season and deserves to start in this league and the Premier League. The English striker only scored 15 goals in 64 games for Crystal Palac,e however, I think he could easily beat that goal tally under Rafa.
Next, we have Aleksander Mitrovic who has caused a divide between Newcastle fans. Some people love him, some people hate him. I for one am a fan of him and want him to fulfil his potential. Mitrovic hasn’t featured much this season with less than 500 minutes played and three goals scored. Last season, he scored 9 goals and got himself 4 assists in a struggling side which I think is impressive.
Up next is Daryl Murphy who has already bagged two league goals in three matches. Murphy has surprised me as I wasn’t convinced about him when he signed but he has been a pleasant surprise for me.
Finally, we have Ayoze Perez who is a strange player. Sometimes he gets constantly barged off the ball and adds nothing but sometimes he pulls off moments of magic. The Spaniard has scored four goals and set four up so far this season. Last season he played very well and (apparently) earned himself interest from Barcelona.
Verdict: No upgrades needed
Feature Image credit: Martin Le Roy