Newcastle United

Newcastle’s Season ‘Beyond Their Wildest Dreams’

The Chronicle’s Chief NUFC Writer, Lee Ryder, believes the season Newcastle United have enjoyed has far surpassed everyone’s expectations.
More on this story...

- Newcastle United entertain Leicester City on Monday night (8pm kick-off)
- The Magpies are third in the Premier League as things stand
- Victory at St. James’ Park would confirm a top-four finish
- It would be an unbelievable feat according to Lee Ryder of The Chronicle

The Magpies head into Monday’s 8pm kick-off against Leicester City with a clear target to confirm a spot in Europe’s most prestigious competition for next term, the UEFA Champions League.

Currently third in the Premier League prior to welcoming the Foxes to St. James’ Park, it has been a campaign to remember for the North East club, whatever the final outcome is.

Ryder told Matchday Live: “Nobody expected to be in the Champions League or challenging for it going into the last few games. I think most people would have been happy just to simply avoid a relegation battle, which Newcastle did.

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Callum Wilson
Callum Wilson

Callum Wilson takes the acclaim from the United fans after scoring in Thursday's 4-1 home win over Brighton & Hove Albion.

“But as the season has gone on, expectations have just gone up bit by bit. Obviously reaching the Carabao Cup Final was another huge bonus. Where Newcastle are now, nobody predicted it in pre-season and it’s just a huge surprise for the club.”

Plenty of players have stepped up to the plate for Newcastle over the course of the season, led by captain Kieran Trippier and his wealth of experience. Astute signings and shrewd business have enabled Eddie Howe to form a team worthy of competing in the upper echelons of the league.

“They know three points will take them into the Champions League,” the journalist explained. “It’s going to be a tough game (for Leicester) but Newcastle have got a lot of injuries going into it, so nothing can be taken for granted.

“In midfield they’ve got huge injury doubts in there, so there could be a whole midfield wiped for this game. But I think for the first time in many years, there are a few dangermen and Callum Wilson with 18 goals is one of them.

It’s a huge football club where everyone is pushing in the same direction now. That makes a massive difference for everybody.

Lee Ryder The Chronicle

“Miguel Almirón has come back to fitness and he’s a real threat down the right-hand side. And then you’ve got Alexander Isak, who has had an amazing first season for Newcastle. The front three will all be a big danger.

“But then you’ve got players like Kieran Trippier with his know-how and his set plays which can cause any team difficulties on his day. There are a few threats which I’m not used to seeing and the whole team is just playing with confidence.”

Howe’s tactical nous has also allowed United to thrive, setting the bar much higher than anyone anticipated and coming close to that elusive first major trophy in 68 years when reaching the Carabao Cup Final, before losing out to Manchester United in the showpiece at Wembley Stadium.

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Eddie Howe
Eddie Howe

The man in charge of Newcastle's ascent to the upper reaches of the Premier League.

The reporter added: “I think even Howe said at the start of the season that this is going to be a tough season for us. He named some teams that he thought they were going to be in a battle with this season. So, for them to be competing against Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool, it’s been an unbelievable achievement.

“He’s turned it around, you’ve got to give him credit for that. I said about two weeks before the Manager of the Year nominations were released, that he is. I hope he gets it, but it’s a huge football club where everyone is pushing in the same direction now.

“That makes a massive difference for everybody, whereas in the past when we’ve faced Leicester we’ve turned up as a team in crisis really and it’s been very tough.”

All times BST.




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