Opinion: Newcastle United – Three key points for improvement in 2020/21 season

The Premier League season has finished as the last games of the 2019/20 season were played last Sunday, now what can Newcastle United work on for next season?

There is no denying it: it’s been a rollercoaster of a season for Newcastle United. Outlets predicted the Toon Army to face the drop back into the EFL Championship, under the ruling of Mike Ashley with Steve Bruce at the helm. However, to finish 13th in the table isn’t bad – but it’s not great either.

Putting that aside and the ever-still looming possibility of a takeover from the middle-east consortium, headed by Amanda Staveley. Here are three points the squad needs to improve on before we head into the 2020/21 season.

Finishing

You’d expect the forward-playing players to be the ones to provide the majority of wins for your team. Unlike Newcastle united, their top goalscorer all season came from Jonjo Shelvey, a midfield player who was able to get six balls past a goalkeeper.

Miguel Almiron and Dwight Gayle were tied as the second top goalscorer for United, with four goals between them as we saw out the end of the 19/20 season. Tallying all the goals scored together, from our forward players, we scored 13 goals (4 – Gayle, 4 – Almiron, 3 – Allan Saint-Maximin and 2 – Joelinton).

If we want any hope of getting further than the bang average mid-table side, we need to improve our finishing in the final third.

Defense

This issue regarded our defensive back four, three or five – whatever formation Bruce has gone with on the day. An example of this would be the recent game against the newly-crowned champions, Liverpool FC. Although their defense was admirable against Virgil Van Dyke’s header – who equalised after Gayles early opener, it was the two goals that followed that proved to be Newcastle’s downfall in their last game of the season.

Divock Origi’s curling shot, outside the box, left the Toon defenders standing in the box as Federico Fernandez attempted – poorly – to header the ball away, only to look on with disappointment after the Reds gained the lead. In addition, both Javier Manquillo and Valentino Lazaro marked an unsupported Sadio Mane which left a huge gap in the Magpies defense for the Senegalese forward to curl it past Martin Dubravka once again.

Dubravka finished the 2019/20 campaign as the goalkeeper with the most saves which was eight more than second place Tim Krul, who was relegated this season with Norwich City.

Staying in formation

Following on, the team – at times – seemed to lack discipline in terms of staying in formation. If we looked back at the recent game against Brighton, the squad seemed to be displaced as if we were 1-0 down in the 92nd minute, when the game was half way through the second half.

However, if Bruce and his coaching team are able to embed some form of discipline within the squad, we could stop more threatening plays as well as being able to score more – saving us from the drop and breaking into the top 10.

Rather than looking like an 11-a-side squad put together last minute.

Despite all of this, we will have to wait and see if the team has anything to give for the 2020/21 season or will we be faced with a season-long battle for Premier League survival?

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