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Can Newcastle United Make a Genuine Push for Europe?

Posted on September 27th, 2017 | One Comment |

European football trophies
Out of reach?
The start of the campaign was hardly the most inspiring for Newcastle United, following defeats against Tottenham, Huddersfield, and then perhaps most alarmingly, home elimination from the EFL Cup by Nottingham Forest. However, since then form improved until a narrow defeat to Brighton, and it seems the side managed by Rafa Benitez has found a level cohesion, stability and belief in itself.

A positive display and comfortable 3-0 victory against West Ham seemed to light the fuse. Narrow and hard-fought wins against Swansea City and Stoke City followed. All of a sudden Newcastle were parked in the top four with three straight league wins by mid-September, the new signings slotting in nicely, planting the seeds of hope that the 2017/18 campaign may be one to enjoy, rather than suffer.

Consistency is king in the Premier League and such a run of results is beginning to change opinions. The leadership and scoring form of defender Jamaal Lascelles is also catching the eye, with blog insight from experts at sportsbet.io praising influential performances from the Newcastle skipper. Tipsters at the Bitcoin betting specialists have been increasingly impressed, favouring The Magpies chances of flying higher than originally predicted.

Despite facing a certain amount of criticism from the press and fans alike for what was considered a less than impressive transfer window, plus suggestions that Rafa Benitez was far from content with both the spending power and determination by the club to make key signings, those who did arrive are making positive contributions.

Akin to his memorable time with Liverpool, signing fellow Spaniards, or players who have made a name for themselves in La Liga have proven to be the most straightforward captures for the Newcastle boss. According to whoscored.com and statistically speaking, Javier Manquillo, Joselu, Mikel Merino and Jesús Gámez have all performed consistently well so far.

With the other recent signings, the ratings are somewhat of a mixed bag, although individually, Christian Atsu has shown signs that after his loan at Newcastle last season, followed by a permanent move from Chelsea, he has the capacity to become a key player. That said and with price-tags being no guarantee of instantly potent performances, Jacob Murphy and Florian Lejeune still need to prove their value when they start to see more regular action.

Even with qualms about the strength and depth of the current Newcastle squad, unless further additions can be made in the January transfer window, the early signs are that Rafa Benitez is showing his prowess for getting the most out of what he has available. This begs the question, will he settle for simply avoiding relegation or mid-table obscurity? or can he genuinely drive this side towards the push for one of the European spots?

There is an air of quiet confidence from Benitez himself that over the course of the season, his team can maintain a good level of consistency. “It’s important to keep this confidence high,” he underlined recently, whilst stressing that his priority is to “make sure we don’t have any overconfidence,” as the team seeks to maintain a run of positive results.

Such consistency and positive results, if they can be maintained by the time the January transfer window arrives and with the real prospect of one or two key additions, could genuinely make Newcastle one of the outside contenders for European qualification.

Hovering amongst the top-four and aiming for a Champions League spot is perhaps unrealistic to consider, even for the most positive and hopeful of fans, but there are strong signs already that this team has both the potential and capability, to remain within touching distance of the Europa League spots come the end of the campaign.

NUFCBlog Author: Frankly Various Frankly Various has written 6 articles on this blog.

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