A Comprehensive Newcastle United Season Review: Breaking Down The Tyneside Club’s Campaign

Newcastle United 2019/20 Season Review - Bruce gestures
Newcastle United's English head coach Steve Bruce gestures from the sidelines during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Newcastle United at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on July 20, 2020. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / POOL / AFP)

When Newcastle United announced the big-money signing of Brazilian striker Joelinton prior to the start of last season, one thing that could be said with certainty is that the Toon Army were hoping for fantastic results this time around. Unfortunately for them though, things didn’t work out quite as planned for Steve Bruce’s side. For starters, their massive summer signing failed to live up to the hype, as he ended the campaign with just two goals to show, despite featuring in every single league fixture this campaign.

The drama surrounding the appointment of Steven Bruce would’ve caused a large amount of commotion in the first place, as they didn’t see the former Manchester United player as being a worthy enough successor to Rafa Benitez. The gaffer was only able to take part in half of the Magpies’ pre-season tour to Asia, while the lack of belief from the fans before the commencement of the season was something to forget as well.

Here Is The Newcastle United 2019/20 Season Review:

Newcastle United 2019/20 Season Review - Newcastle players celebrate
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – JANUARY 18: Newcastle United players celebrate during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Chelsea FC at St. James Park on January 18, 2020 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Newcastle United 2019/20 Season Review

The High-Points

Although the signing of Joelinton didn’t necessarily go to plan, the Magpies acquired another player during the summer that proved to be a stroke of genius by the Tyneside club. French speedster Allan Saint-Maximin was brought in as a largely unknown quantity, but he’s among the highest-rated wingers in the entirety of the Premier League after just one year in the top flight. Paraguayan winger Miguel Almiron, who was brought in midway through the 18/19 season, also had a breakthrough year at the club this time around.

The Magpies’ issues in front of goal have been no secret, but if anyone deserves credit for carrying them to a 13th place finish, then it’s the exploits of their various centre-half options. The likes of Ciaran Clark, Federico Fernandez and Fabian Schar have all scored vital goals for the side throughout the season. If it wasn’t for all their defenders’ goals, they might have been involved in the relegation scrap towards the latter parts of the campaign.

Another one of the biggest positives for Newcastle United to take away from that season would be the amazing wins they got against the bigger clubs. Steve Bruce’s men got improbable wins against the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea this season. At the same time, their 1-1 draw against former champions Manchester City was a performance worth remembering as well. Even with all this said, it must be conceded that the Toon club’s biggest achievement this season came in the form of their FA Cup run, the best one in over a decade.

Newcastle United 2019/20 Season Review - Joelinton looks on
Newcastle United’s Brazilian striker Joelinton warms up before the English Premier League football match between Watford and Newcastle at Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, north of London on July 11, 2020. (Photo by MIKE EGERTON / POOL / AFP)

The Stumbling Blocks

One of the biggest issues that Steve Bruce’s side faced over the course of the season was the lack of goals in their attack-line. Despite boasting multiple recognised striking options in their ranks, the four of them only managed to find the net on six occasions over the entirety of the season, with both Yoshinori Muto and Andy Carroll not scoring at all. Joelinton’s two goals were bettered only by Dwight Gayle with four, as the Magpies’ top scorer at the end of the term was English midfielder Jonjo Shelvey.

To put that into perspective, a combination of all of the Toon club’s centre-halves, have outscored a combination of all their centre-forward options. When it reaches that point, serious questions have to be raised about the team’s general playing style, or the individual strikers’ motivation towards the cause.

Another major issue that Steve Bruce was constantly up against was team selection. The number of injuries that the Magpies have had to fight through this season is silly, and this has caused an appalling lack of consistency in terms of team selection. The Toon club don’t have a standard midfield or defence line, with changes being forced on the manager after every other game.

Despite all of this though, the most painful of realisations came at the tail end of the season, with the proposed takeover of Newcastle United by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund being called off. The big-money acquisition of the Tyneside club by the Saudi Arabian Royal Prince was to trigger a new era in the future of this historic football club, but various stoppages along the way, added to the COVID-19 pandemic, meant that it fell through at the last minute.

Newcastle United 2019/20 Season Review - Newcastle players celebrate
Newcastle United’s English striker Dwight Gayle (L) celebrates with Newcastle United’s Scottish midfielder Matt Ritchie (C) and Newcastle United’s Paraguayan midfielder Miguel Almiron (R) after scoring a goal during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at St James’ Park  July 26, 2020. (Photo by OWEN HUMPHREYS / POOL / AFP)

There was talk of the Magpies adapting a similar path to the one that was taken up by Manchester City after their humongous takeover all those years ago. Unfortunately for them though, signing players like Kylian Mbappe and Philippe Coutinho will likely remain a pipe-dream. The kind of players that were being linked would’ve made even the most pessimistic of fans scream with joy, but they have been brought back to earth by the reality check recently provided to them by Mike Ashley.

The Verdict

The Magpies finished the 18/19 season under Rafa Benitez in 13th place on the league table, and a similar finish this time around should be considered a feather on the cap of Steve Bruce. Moreover, he also guided them all the way to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup, where they lost out only to former holders Manchester City. Furthermore, it’s worth taking into consideration that the manager hasn’t been allowed to really instil his identity on the squad, having only been at the club for one season.

The need for reinforcements across a variety of positions is apparent to see at Tyneside, but one thing that can be said with confidence is that they have a squad that should be feared. Joelinton has proven in the past that he has got goals in him, while the efforts of Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin simply cannot be underplayed either. This summer could be an extremely important one for the Toon club in terms of the transfer market, and how they perform in the coming weeks could determine whether or not they finish above 13th place next season.

Nikhil has been an avid Chelsea fan for as long as the concept of time has existed and rumours say that he even bleeds blue. Having lived in the UK for 3 years, Nikhil is said to have an excellent understanding of the atmosphere surrounding the English game. His role model is the greatest manager of all time - Jose Mourinho.