Newcastle United 2018-19 Premier League Preview & Betting Tips: The Magpies to finish in bottom half
Rafa Benitez’s men to preserve their top-flight status
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez set to keep the Magpies up (JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)
Newcastle United 2018-19 Premier League Preview & Betting Tips
Newcastle United head into the new season with manager Rafa Benitez insisting the team’s goal is to once again remain in the Premier League. The Magpies have a rich blend of experience and youth and will be looking to establish themselves as steady top-flight outfit this season.
Having just gained promotion back to the top flight, Newcastle United set about their business in rather conservative fashion. The Magpies didn’t make too many major additions to the team and stuck with the bulk of players who won the Championship title the previous season.
They brought in French defender Florian Lejeune from Eibar, Jacob Murphy from Norwich City and Mikel Merino from Borussia Dortmund.
At the halfway stage the Magpies looked in real relegation trouble and that triggered a wave of loan signings in a bid to preserve their top-flight status. In came Brazilian Kenedy from Chelsea, Striker Islam Slimani from Leicester City and goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka from Sparta Prague.
These additions and the form of key players like Ayoze Perez, Jonjo Shelvey and captain Jamaal Lascelles saw the Magpies not only survive the dreaded drop but finish in top half.
Newcastle United however failed to make an impact in the Cup competitions. They were knocked out of the EFL Cup by Championship outfit Nottingham Forest in the second round and lost in the third round of the FA Cup to eventual winners Chelsea.
Rafa Benitez arrived the club in March 2016, replacing the sacked Steve McClaren as the Magpies looked to avoid the drop. The Spaniard’s impact was felt and even though Newcastle were relegated, Benitez stayed on and brought the team back up from the Championship at the first attempt.
He steadied the ship last season and clinched a top 10 finish for the newly promoted club after looking in serious relegation trouble for much of the campaign.
Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles is the undoubted leader of the team and will be one of their key figures coming into the new season. The 24-year-old has been a rock at the back for the Magpies and is one of first names on the starting sheet of the manager.
In midfield, Jonjo Shelvey had a frustrating start to the season but eventually found his feet to drive the team from the middle while striker Ayoze Perez was top scorer with eight goals in the Premier League.
The departures of loan signings Kenedy and Islam Slimani will mean that Newcastle must strengthen in the forward areas.
After flirting with relegation for most of the season, Newcastle’s 10th place finish might have papered over the cracks of what was a struggle at times. Rafa Benitez will be looking to preserve the club’s top-flight status for another year without having to look over their shoulders.
A decent run in the Cup competitions will also be a requirement depending on how much the Magpies invest in the squad.
Newcastle will be keen to avoid a relegation scrap and look better equipped this time for a comfortable midtable finish.
They look good enough to finish above the teams in danger but may not have the quality to crack the top 10.
Best Bet: Newcastle to Finish in Bottom Half @ 1.40
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