Snap judgement – These are the Premier League clubs competing with Newcastle United this season

Which Premier League clubs are Newcastle United competing with this season?

A lot of discussion over the course of the summer about what the realistic ambitions should be for this campaign.

Fair to say a wide spread of views amongst Newcastle fans, with generally people saying stuff such as top ten and top eight as being the realistic aims, though to me it is definitely a case of, as always, can you be best of the rest?

In other words, outside of the established self-appointed top / ‘big’ six, can Newcastle United be best of the other 14 Premier League clubs?

As of course, nobody (well very few) wants to be seen as a Newcastle fan, claiming that top six is realistic this season. Getting above our natural place in life (as others want to see us)…

I will leave that top / ‘big’ six question for later and instead concentrate on our competition amongst the ‘other 14’ clubs.

As a starting point, this is how the 2021/22 Premier League season ended up.

Then have a look at the opening weekend of the season’s results:

Crystal Palace 0 Arsenal 2

Fulham 2 Liverpool 2

Bournemouth 2 Aston Villa 0

Leeds 2 Wolves 1

Newcastle 2 Nottingham Forest 0

Tottenham 4 Southampton 1

Everton 0 Chelsea 1

Leicester 2 Brentford 2

Man Utd 1 Brighton 2

West Ham 0 Man City 2

Conclusions

Of course it is just an opinion…but at this point, I thought it would be interesting to make a snap judgement on how things could (I think) turn out.

I think it is common sense to start with the four teams that ended up still ahead of Newcastle United, in places seventh to tenth.

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We are talking about West Ham, Leicester, Brighton and Wolves.

West Ham

Ending last season with only five wins in their final 17 PL matches, with four draws and eight defeats that meant only 19 points in their last 17 games. The kind of form that over a full season would see you just above the relegation zone.

They had a predictable defeat to Man City, a tame loss with only 25% possession, one shot on target and one corner.

Busy in the transfer window with around £100m spent, I still think they are going to struggle to match last year’s seventh place and 56 points. The only ones outside the ‘big six’ who have a European campaign to contend with and for starters, have to play six group games, as well as 16 PL matches, before the break for the World Cup after 13 November 2022.

Leicester 

Leading 2-0 at home to Brentford but managed to end up with just a 2-2 draw on Sunday. The only club yet to make a signing this summer and reportedly need to sell before they can buy.

Kasper Schmeichel has already left and likely at least one or two of their remaining best players will follow.

Leicester ended last season with final 20 games form of seven wins, six draws and seven defeats.

I think that whilst they do still have a few really good players, they are in decline, plus Vardy turns 36 in January and surely can’t now be as good as he was at his best.

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Brighton

Ended last season with 19 game form of six wins, six draws and seven defeats.

Started the season with an excellent 2-1 win at Man Utd and whilst that result and performance was undoubtedly good, difficult to know just how much you have to factor in how bad Man Utd were.

They have just banked another massive transfer fee and profit, Chelsea paying £60m for Cucurella. Interesting to see what they do with that money and especially if they could use it and be able to attract a player or two who can provide more goal threat.

Wolves

A bit like Brighton, look a team on decline.

Ended last season with only three wins in their final 14 PL matches, losing nine of them.

Despite taking a sixth minute lead on Saturday they managed to lose 2-0 to Leeds.

They haven’t made huge gains in the transfer window so far, spending less than £50m.

So, Newcastle United?

I do think that when it comes to getting above these four clubs above it is all about Newcastle United. As in, it is how we perform.

I don’t think any of these four are going to rip it up this season and so it is a case of can NUFC get a level of form that is good enough to be getting up towards the 60 points mark? I think unrealistic to think we can repeat that kind of form of 37 points from the final 18 games last season, over an entire campaign. However, Eddie Howe did end up with a remarkable knack of regularly beating ‘other 14’ teams in 2022.

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You have to respect West Ham because of how they have done recently but as I say. I think European demands will be too much.

Wolves and Leicester I think will not get more points than last season, whilst it would be some Graham Potter achievement if he improves Brighton again.

Steven Gerrard created a lot of hype about Villa but not much substance, losing to Bournemouth a dismal starting point this season.

Everton and Leeds may do better than last season but not suddenly top eight contenders.

The likes of Palace and Brentford may do ok under decent managers in terms of mid-table spots.

However, I do think the supposed toughness of the Premier League is overstated at times. Yes, it isn’t easy, but the likes of Leicester have shown that if you get recruitment decisions right and have a decent manager, you can have a real go.

As for challenging the ‘big six’ potentially.

Well, for Newcastle it is all about week in week out beating the teams outside the ‘big six’, or at least not losing.

I think Man City and Liverpool are another level, I think Chelsea will still do well, whilst Spurs look to have bought well.

So, maybe Arsenal and very possibly Man Utd looking vulnerable if they fail to perform on a regular basis.

All to play for.

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