After recently beating both Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in Premier League outings this month – and subsequently failing to win against bottom placed Aston Villa on home turf last time out – the St. James’ Park faithful certainly seem to be playing host to a rather unpredictable outfit right in the here and now.
The 2015/16 campaign has so far turned out to be a rather tiresome one for the Tyneside support in truth. Although recent results may have very well raised the spirits in and around the team of late, major question-marks still nonetheless surround the managerial exploits of Steve McClaren and his supposed inability to get the best out of his players.
So then, with roughly half of the current season already recorded and documented for future onlookers to behold – are Newcastle looking set to avoid the once impending threat of relegation this season, or do more tough times ultimately await the Magpies in 2015/16?
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Well, as the Tynesiders currently sit just outside realms of the dreaded relegation zone, maybe there is, in fact, hope for Steve McClaren after all. His side may represent one of the least capable outfits operating in the Premier League at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still three worse teams also in and aroundt the relegation dog-fight.
Each of Sunderland, Aston Villa and potentially either of AFC Bournemouth or Norwich City, arguably represent inferior starting XI’s that what Newcastle United presently have at their disposal. The St. James’ hierarchy famously spent close to £50million on new players this summer, so Steve McClaren’s side really should be too good to go down.
And whilst such an analysis doesn’t always come up trumps, the Magpies do in-fact possess enough technical quality to get them out of their current predicament.
The likes of Ayoze Perez, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Georginio Wijnaldum seem to have what it takes to successfully score goals in the English top-flight, Siem de Jong could very well make a meaningful impact upon finally returning to full fitness for Newcastle this season – and although the Magpies back-line has traditionally been the cause for great concern down at St. James in seasons past – Fabricio Coloccini and co. have nonetheless improved their overall organisational levels in the club’s last few league outings at least.
Yes, Steve McClaren doesn’t quite seem suited to the massive task currently on his hands, with several of his first team players looking equally out of their depth within the Premier League in 2015/16 – but as several other English teams have also failed to excel in the goal-scoring department this term – Newcastle may eventually find themselves with an escape route from the bottom three by the time the current season comes to a close.
The former England boss will nonetheless have to improve the overall mental toughness of his unpredictable outfit however, for when the Magpies have invariably gone behind this season, McClaren’s side don’t exactly portray all the hallmarks of a team confident of coming back and claiming all three points. Barring a few isolated exceptions of course, the Newcastle players have let their collective heads drop far too often this season to be considered genuine top-ten hopefuls.
In the end, it remains incredibly difficult to assess Newcastle’s chances of staying up in 2015/16. This is a team that have underperformed for so long now, it really is becoming somewhat difficult to remember just how impressive the determined Magpies once were many moons ago.
However, because Steve McClaren’s side seemingly have what it takes to survive the drop on paper this term, perhaps that will ultimately be enough for Newcastle when the 2015/16 campaign finally comes to an end. If Mike Ashley sees fit to spend once again this January, the St. James’ faithful could very well experience some all-round improved fortunes throughout the remainder of the season.