Newcastle look desperately familiar despite their boardroom shake-up and with Eddie Howe as boss

IAN LADYMAN: Newcastle look desperately familiar despite their takeover and new manager… the players do not look good enough to avoid relegation regardless of who is in charge

  • Newcastle have a new look in the boardroom and on the touchline this season
  • However, on the field Newcastle look desperately familiar to beforehand   
  • They are bottom of the table for a reason, leaving Eddie Howe with huge task 
  • Something of which there is absolutely no hint of needs to happen very quickly











Newcastle have a new look in the boardroom and on the touchline. Unfortunately, on the field they look desperately familiar.

As the days roll on following the departure of Steve Bruce, a truth continues to emerge. Newcastle’s players do not look good enough to stay up, regardless of who is in charge.

Newcastle are bottom of the table for a reason and if their new manager Eddie Howe is going to somehow drag them north, then something of which there is absolutely no hint of needs to happen very quickly indeed.

Newcastle still look desperately familiar despite Eddie Howe being appointed new boss

Newcastle's players do not look good enough to stay up, regardless of who is in charge

Newcastle’s players do not look good enough to stay up, regardless of who is in charge

On Tuesday Newcastle host Norwich at St James’ Park and on Saturday Burnley will visit. Beyond that, the fixture list looks desperate. 

Leicester, Liverpool, the two Manchester clubs and Everton before the turn of the year. So Newcastle must win on Tuesday and maybe again on Saturday. It is hard to see how Howe can save them if they don’t.

There is a transfer window looming and some will see that as salvation. Newcastle are flush with Saudi money and that gives them an opportunity. But how the club approach January is hard to fathom. 

Do they try to buy players who can keep them in the Premier League? Or do they look for the kind who can get them out of the Championship next season? The type capable of doing both — or wanting to try — may be thin on the ground. 

Newcastle are flush with Saudi money and that gives them an opportunity in the window

Newcastle are flush with Saudi money and that gives them an opportunity in the window

Some of those linked with Newcastle are laughable. Philippe Coutinho? James Maddison? Anthony Martial? Good luck with all that, Eddie.

For now, Newcastle can rely only on their manager’s coaching and that is one shaft of light. Howe is at his best on the training ground. Those who have watched the 43-year-old at work will tell you about the enthusiasm, intensity and cleverness of his methods. From that point of view, Newcastle have hired well.

Whether Howe can turn water into wine is another thing entirely. His squad are not short on willingness but lack quality.

On Saturday, they were vaguely competitive, worked hard and followed instructions. There was a clear pattern to what they did. Jonjo Shelvey — bigged up deliberately by Howe in preceding days — ambled forwards to play a couple of accurate long passes and delivered one rasping drive that Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale had to touch on to the bar.

That apart, there was no threat from Newcastle. They barely laid a glove on Arsenal. Afterwards Howe made much of how well his team had played in the final third of the game. It was an odd thing to say as his team were 2-0 down by then and the game was largely over.

Whether Howe - whose squad lacks quality - can turn water into wine is another thing entirely

 Whether Howe – whose squad lacks quality – can turn water into wine is another thing entirely

Newcastle host Norwich at St James' Park and then welcome Sean Dyche (right) and Burnley

Newcastle host Norwich at St James’ Park and then welcome Sean Dyche (right) and Burnley 

Arsenal, for their part, were as good as they needed to be and no more. They have recovered well from the difficult start to their season but will need to improve to finish in the top four.

The first half was dour, enlivened only by a comedic miss from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Why he is Arsenal’s captain is hard to explain. He sets no kind of example at all. He is not a leader.

His team did score two quite lovely goals, though. Bukayo Saka got the first before departing injured and Gabriel Martinelli contributed a beautiful second moments after replacing him.

Arsenal continue to be something of a puzzle but are at least trending upwards. Newcastle are stuck in flatline and in need of a jump start.

Arsenal, for their part, were as good as they needed to be and no more and have improved

Arsenal, for their part, were as good as they needed to be and no more and have improved

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