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Newcastle Season Preview: Can the Toon target a European finish?

Despite finishing in a solid 10th position last season, Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is under intense pressure from the Newcastle supporters this coming season. As a 3-0 defeat to Arsenal rounded off a six-game run off straight defeats saw the Gaffer unable to leave the dugout without having 50,000 Geordies hurling abuse at him.

After a fall-out with his manager Hatem Ben-Arfa’s No. 10 shirt has been handed to Ex-Ajax captain Siem De Jong which may suggest his exit from St. James’s Park is to be expected.

With the loss of Yohan Cabaye in January to French giants PSG, Loic Remy returning to QPR after bagging 14 goals during his season-long loan and attacking full-back Mathieu Debuchy leaving for the Gunners. At first glance the future looks bleak for Alan Pardew and the Toon Army. However it’s been a busy transfer window with the spending thought to be around the £28m mark.

Big Signings

Remy Cabella: Dubbed the next Yohan Cabaye by some, Cabella joined for a fee of £8m which could prove to be a bargain. The French international notched 14 goals in 37 appearances for Montpellier last season. If given space between the defence and midfield he will cause havoc for any opposition. With fast feet, agility and a willingness to work hard and win the ball back he will be a major part of any success Newcastle may have next season.

Siem De Jong: The No. 10 has been known to play as either an attacking midfielder or striker. He will provide strength and an aerial threat to Newcastle’s attacking forces this season. He managed to bag 78 goals in the Eredivisie over his 7 years at Ajax..

Emmanuel Riviere: The £6.3m striker whose knack for being in the right place at the right time captured him 11 goals in 30 games(19 starts) for AS Monaco last season. The 9th Frenchman in the Magpies squad, his clinical finishing combined with clever movement make him a defender’s nightmare. Alan Pardew will be hoping he can live up to Remy’s performances last season, a very big ask of the 24-year-old.

Daryl Janmaat: After featuring in the Dutch world cup line-up on more than one occasion Daryl Janmaat will be expected to fill the void left by Mathieu Debuchy. The athletic full-back is a superb defender, strong in the tackle and excellent distribution. The only signing of the summer that naturally plays wide Janmaat will be an important player for Newcastle next season.

Key Players

Cheik Tiote: After a transfer window which saw the majority of players brought in being either strikers or attacking midfielders, Tiote will have a very important job next season. Providing an anchor for the likes of Sissoko, De Jong and Cabella to play with freedom to get forward and attack the opposition. He will need to improve his discipline however after racking up 10 yellow cards last season.

Tim Krul: After Tim Krul’s saves in Netherland’s penalty shootout against Costa Rica he will be coming back full of confidence. When he’s on form he can appear unbeatable at times (think back to the 1-0 win against Spurs early last season). His ability and mentality relieves pressure from the defence knowing they have a reliable keeper between the sticks.

Predicted Line-ups

Newcastle - Football tactics and formations

Pardew may opt for a 4-4-2 diamond formation given the large amount of central midfielders and strikers at the club and after seeing the success it acquired under Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool last season. With Janmaat and Santon both liking to get forward they would provide width and crosses for De Jong and Riviere to feed off. Cabella will be given freedom to get forward playing in ‘the hole’. Being able to play killer passes through to the strikers and get on the scoresheet himself occasionally. Sissoko, Colback and Tiote could dominate the midfield with strength, stamina and technical quality all on show. With Coloccini in the heart of the defence and Krul in behind The Magpies have a solid base to build off.

It’s going to be a tough start for Newcastle as they come up against Premier League Title holder’s Man City, especially since De Jong, Tiote, Cisse and Santon are all injured. However if the new signings can gel they have the quality to control games and dominate possession. If so the Toon Army could be looking at, possibly European football, but definitely an improvement on last season’s finish.

After a mixed experience last term, can Newcastle improve this time round? Let us know in the comments or on twitter @TBRFootball.

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