Dags för säsongsavslutning! Hur har Newcastle säsong varit och vad hoppas ”Skatornas” fans på i sommar? Det här, och mycket annat, berättar Jake Jackman(@Jakejackmann), från bland annat @EPLRoundtable, om i vår Q&A:
1.The last part of the Premier League has been very different, how has it been to follow football after the corona break?
– It’s been non-stop and I’d say I’ve seen the majority of matches. Obviously it’s great to have it back as that period without football was tough for us all. The Premier League has done a great job of getting it back safely, but it has been missing something without the fans. Hopefully the recovery from Covid can continue and next season, we can get fans back in stadiums and get closer to normality.
2. How has Newcastle performed after the break?
– It’s been okay. We are 13th in the table taking account of matches following the restart. That is probably as good as we could hope for under the current manager and owner. We started really well with some eye catching performances against Sheffield United and Bournemouth, but it has kind of fizzled out since then with injuries hampering the team. We also have little to play for and that is evident in the performances.
3. You appointed Steve Bruce as a manager before this season, not the most popular choice, how would you say that he has done? Are you satisfied with his job so far?
– It was an awful appointment at the time and he’s done little to suggest he can be a success at the club long term. I’m a big lover of expected goals as a stat, although it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. We are currently bottom of that table for the season, which suggests we have been quite lucky. I was certain we’d go down following his appointment and he’s been fortunate, but points on the board matters and he has done that. Since he has changed to four at the back, we have been much better and the performances have started to support the results. He’s done what we needed him to do, but it’s not likely to be a success long term.
4. The owner situation at Newcastle is a big question every season, will we finally see Mike Ashley leave this summer?
– That’s the million dollar question. For those that don’t know, we are currently into the 15th week of an Owners and Directors test being conducted by the Premier League. The consortium that have agreed to buy the club are led by Amanda Staveley (once linked with Liverpool) but 80% of the funds are being put up by the Saudi Public Investment Fund. If you take the moral issues out of it, this would likely be very exciting for the club. However, the ODT normally takes 4-6 weeks and this has dragged on long past that. There are concerns over piracy in Saudi Arabia and a geopolitical dispute between Saudi Arabia and Qatar has led to weeks of doubts and hold-ups. With the transfer window coming very soon, we need a resolution. Going back to the original question, this is the closest we have come to seeing the back of Mike Ashley, but in classic Newcastle fashion, it still isn’t a guarantee.
5. Who has been the best player this season for Newcastle? Who has been the biggest disappointment?
– Allan Saint-Maximin has been great to watch and is a welcome sight for sore eyes watching this team. However, Martin Dubravka will be my pick for this. He leads the league in saves made, which shows how poor our defence has been this season. He has won us points on his own, especially through the November/December period. For me, he is one of the best goalkeepers in the league. For a disappointment, it has to be Joelinton. He is our record signing who wears the number nine and he’s scored twice. He has talent, but he’s probably not a classic striker and not suited to how we tried to use him. Hopefully, we sign a natural goalscorer and he can develop in a less pressurised role.
6. What is the most important position to strengthen for Newcastle during the transfer window?
– We need a striker. Our top scorer in the Premier League is Jonjo Shelvey. That should be enough to show anyone what is needed in the coming weeks.
7. This is the final game of the season, how will you remember the Premier League season 2019/2020?
– In a similar way to the majority under Mike Ashley. We have existed in the Premier League and survived. There’s very little to get excited about as a Newcastle supporter in the current guise. Hopefully, next season, I will be writing with a lot more enthusiasm about the team and not need to type those fatal words. Mike Ashley.