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Why Newcastle United Can Achieve A Top-10 Finish This Season Under Benitez

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Can Newcastle United Achieve A Top-10 Finish This Season?

Not one of the big, fancy clubs in recent times but rather the diligent and industrious one, Newcastle United has been one of the clubs with a rich history if you roll back the years, having been found on December 9, 1892. But the disappointing part, as far as its utmost glory is concerned, is that it has not been able to win trophies as much as it would have liked to.

So far, Newcastle have won 4 league titles and their last triumph came in 1927 – which is exactly 90 years ago. The fans came close to rejoicing again, only to see their title dreams shatter about two decades ago when the club finished 2nd in the 1995/96 and 1996/97 campaign.

Having been promoted this season, after winning the Championship title the preceding year, it will be foolish to think of a glory crown straightaway. But in Rafael Benitez, they have a manager with top pedigree and probably one of the most revered coaches in world football to sit in the dugout.

However, this season with the ‘Big Boys’ around, Newcastle saw a horrendous start to their campaign after losing their opening two league matches. But the Magpies have turned things around to win their last three fixtures and move up to fourth in the table as a result.

It is silly to get carried away but under Benitez, there is a genuine feeling among the fans that Newcastle can do well this season after a difficult transfer market. Above all, club owner Mike Ashley made ludicrous statements on selling the club, hours after Benítez had reaffirmed his commitment to Newcastle despite his dissatisfaction over the summer spending.

“I don’t have that cash in the bank, so I don’t have that ability to write a cheque for £200m. I don’t have it, it’s very simple, it’s not there. I would have to sell the Sports Direct shares to fund that.” Ashley said.

With all troubles taking a backseat, Benitez confirming his stay meant that Newcastle were reborn, reunited. It felt like a new club again. Optimism soared, excitement increased in Tyneside, a city fell in love with its team again.

With a tight financial structure, Benitez spent less than the two other promoted clubs, Brighton and Huddersfield. The Spaniard’s decision to take midfielder Mikel Merino on loan from Borussia Dortmund, now appears to be a masterstroke. Merino, 21, is not anyway near a flashy midfielder, but he has wasted no time in showing exactly what he can do at St. James’ Park.

Jonjo Shelvey, a £12m recruit under then-coach Steve Mclaren, needs no reminding of his potential that once made him an England international. However, failure to keep his hot head in check has cost him dear a number of times, just like it happened in Newcastle’s season opener against Spurs, when he was dismissed for a stamp on Dele Alli, following which Spurs won 2-0.

But with the former Liverpool man back after serving a three-match man, the fans have expressed excitement at the starting line-up featuring both Shelvey and Merino.

Javier Manquillo and Florian Lejeune’s arrivals have particularly solidified the Toons’ defence, while former Real Madrid striker Joselu has joined from Stoke to add flair to the attack.

The club’s most expensive summer signing for just £12million, Jacob Murphy is yet to hit the ground running. Winger Christian Atsu’s signing was a wise thing, given how he has started the season, whereas Matt Ritchie appears to be an indispensable figure with 4 assists in 5 league games. Also, in skipper Jamaal Lascelles, the club has got a player wearing the stripes with pride and ready to put his heart and soul on the line.

With decent quality of players, if not top ones at disposal, there is every reason to think Newcastle can avoid the drop. The January window will become a massive showdown between Benitez and Ashley on how to manage the transfer market, and if the duo can agree to things amicably, there is every chance of a bigger success. Of course with an organised tactician such as Benitez at the helm, Newcastle can probably finish in the top ten.