Analyze his coaching time


As Eddie Howe prepares for his 100th Premier League game in charge, we take a look at the progress Newcastle have made during his time in charge.


Newcastle travel to Burnley this Saturday for a game that will be huge for the hosts’ survival hopes.

For Newcastle, this is nothing. Yes, they still have a very slim chance of catching Tottenham in fifth place, and an even slimmer chance of fifth place being enough to qualify for the Champions League.

Newcastle’s best hope, though, is to secure sixth place and a Europa League spot.If United finish seventh or lower, even sixth place would be enough to qualify for the Europa League and Win the FA Cup. Unlikely, but not entirely impossible.

But there is another milestone that makes this game even more noteworthy for the home side: it will be Eddie Howe’s 100th Premier League game in charge of the club.

So now is as good a time as any to pause and take stock of his tenure so far and wonder what the future holds for Howe and Newcastle.

Given their peak form last season, Newcastle’s current position might be considered slightly underwhelming as they return to Europe after an absence of more than a decade and make their first Champions League appearance in two decades.

There may even be some who question Howe’s stance. In the battle for European qualification, with a few tricky games remaining, they may lose at the bottom of the Champions League group and be eliminated from two domestic cup competitions at the quarter-final stage, but that doesn’t mean they improvement.

But Howe has done a great job since taking over at Newcastle, and he has enough goodwill towards the club and fans not to have any reasonable doubts about him.

For context, it’s worth looking back at the club’s situation when he took over.

It was early November 2021, just a month after the Saudi-backed £300m takeover, when Steve Bruce and interim manager Graeme Jones left the team. Only five points were scored in the first 11 games of the season.

Howe’s Newcastle finished bottom of the table on goal difference, the only team in the Premier League without a victory.

Newcastle fans need no reminder of how stale things have become under Bruce, but the impact Howe has had cannot be underestimated. They recovered from a poor start to finish the season in 11th place. In Howe’s 27 games in charge, Newcastle United’s record ranked sixth in the Premier League.

Newcastle have spent a considerable amount of money since Howe and the Saudi Arabian arrived – money that would have been impossible to spend in the Mike Ashley era – and there have been four noteworthy signings in the first month of January , but it should be so. Don’t overlook what Howe did.

Bruno Guimarães (£40m) and Dan Byrne (£13m) made a real impact in the second half of the season, but Kieran Trippier (£12m) has made just six Premier League appearances times, then broke his foot and missed the remainder of the season.

He made marked progress in his first six months at the club and that progress continued into the following season.

The first thing Howe solved was defense. Last season – his first full season at the club – Newcastle United were the joint-best defensive team in the Premier League with champions Manchester City, conceding just 33 goals in 38 games. His team conceded 10 fewer goals than title contenders Arsenal.

Howe made Newcastle very, very difficult to beat. They have lost just one of their first 22 games into the 2022-23 season, which includes a 17-game unbeaten run and six consecutive games and nearly 10 hours without conceding a goal.

As you can see from the chart below, Newcastle United’s six-game rolling expected goals average has been lower than their expected goals average for much of the 2021-22 season. In the 2022-23 season, the Hoosiers’ expected goals rate has dropped to 0.5 per game in the six games leading up to Round 20. 3.0 expected goals.

Newcastle xg under Eddie Howe for and against

At the other end of the floor, they haven’t exactly outplayed teams, with their six-game expected goals average hovering around 1.5 through the first two-thirds of the season.

However, they excelled in the grind, and as their xG crept up, their own xG skyrocketed. In their final 11 games of the season, they defeated Tottenham Hotspur six times, scored five goals against West Ham United, and scored four goals each against Everton and Brighton.

They failed to retain third place – a position they had occupied for much of the season – but comfortably beat a resurgent Liverpool looking to move into the top four.

The good old days seem to be back at St James’ Park. Newcastle enter the summer dreaming of where their Champions League adventure will take them.

But this season has brought them back to reality. They lost three of their first four games of the season (albeit a tough one) and suffered a poor run of form over the winter, losing seven of their league games at the start of the year. Six games. They were knocked out of the Champions League group stage (albeit from a difficult group) and failed to finish in the top four in a calendar week, having spent most of last season in the top three.

Newcastle's league position under Eddie Howe

They also had their fair share of bad luck. Injuries devastated the team, and Howe was down to the starting lineup for several weeks. Of the teams that have used a maximum of one substitute in 15 games in the Premier League this season, Newcastle have done so three times (20%). Then there was Sandro Tonali, last summer’s signing, serving a 10-month ban. What this all means is that any discussion about the work Howe has done so far or the potential for how far he can go needs to be done in the context of those absences.

But at the same time, Howe invested heavily in a handful of players. Alexander Isaac, Anthony Gordon, Sven Botman, Harvey Barnes, Tino Liveramento, Lewis Hall and Tonali all joined for huge fees, and they also introduced Matt Targett and Nick Pope. All this has cost around £400m in the two and a half years since Pride took over. If there was ever a stick with which to beat him, it would be this.

But that’s not to say this season was a failure. Perhaps it would be more accurate to call this a key part of Newcastle’s learning curve. For example, they will learn from so many injuries and better manage player workloads.

Their defensive record this season has been poor and their expected goals have gradually increased as the season has progressed. Midway through the season, at the height of the injury crisis, their six-game expected goals average hit a high of nearly 3.0 per game. They have conceded 55 goals this season, 22 more than last season.

But they’ve almost made up for it at the other end of the floor, and entertainment – a great way to buy yourself time as a manager – has been high. Newcastle United has scored 74 goals this season, averaging 2.2 goals per game, the highest record in the top flight since the 1951-52 season (2.3 goals per game). Their average of 3.8 goals per game is the second-highest in any season in Premier League history, behind only Liverpool’s 4.0 goals per game in 2013-14.

Howe was also praised for using his entire squad so well. His side have produced 19 different goalscorers this season, the second-most of any team in the Premier League era, behind Manchester United’s 20 in 2012-13.

Newcastle squad depth 2023-24

There are also some personal success stories. Isaac, who arrived for a huge transfer fee, has battled injuries in his two seasons at Northeastern but his stock has continued to rise. Despite missing 10 games due to injury this season, he has scored 19 Premier League goals, including nine in his last eight games, putting him in contention for the Golden Boot.

He could become the fifth player in the Premier League after Alan Shearer (four times), Andrew Cole (1993-94), Peter Beardsley (1993-94) and Les Ferdinand (1995-96) Newcastle player who scored 20+ goals in the season). There have been rumors of interest from other clubs but he may now command a higher fee if he leaves.

Then there is Anthony Gordon, who has 10 goals and 9 assists in the Premier League this season. He could become the third player to reach double figures in both goals and assists in a single season, following Cole in 1993-94 (13 of 34 goals) and Ruel Fox (10 in 1994-95). Newcastle players.

Joelinton’s transformation into a midfield destroyer has been spectacular, and Guimarães has reportedly attracted the attention of some of the world’s biggest and best sides. Newcastle have Livramento, Tonali, Joe Willock and Luis Miley, plus a lot of young players who can get better. Sven Botman and Fabian Schaal are a top centre-back partnership.

But Howe knows as well as anyone that he won’t get unlimited time at Newcastle. If another regression occurs next season, he won’t be afforded the same level of patience, even if injuries are used as an excuse.

As he prepares for his 100th game in charge, he will know that while he has taken Newcastle far away from their early form, there is still much to improve.


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