Newcastle United have secured Champions League qualification following an astonishing campaign, and the Magpies will feature in Europe’s most prestigious tournament for the first time in two decades.
Manager Eddie Howe will receive most of the plaudits for the achievement, but the players will also pat themselves on the back for pulling their weight to make history.
From surviving a relegation scrap to competing with some of the very best in the English top flight for a seat amongst Europe’s elite, Newcastle’s rise to prominence has been nothing short of astonishing.
The Tyneside club are well on their way to establishing themselves as a Premier League powerhouse and will fancy their chances of keeping the ‘big boys’ on their toes.
Big-money signing Alexander Isak made his mark in a Newcastle shirt notching ten goals in his debut campaign, with only Miguel Almiron (11) and Callum Wilson (18) scoring more.
Nick Pope also played his part with several dominant performances between the sticks, while Joelinton deserves a mention.
However, Kieran Trippier edges them all after proving a shrewd acquisition for the Magpies. He wasted no time establishing himself as a central figure to user the club into a new era.
Performance of the season
Newcastle can boast several impressive performances and high-scoring fixtures across their successful campaign. However, Howe’s side hit new strides when they demolished Tottenham Hotspur 6-1 last month.
The Magpies were expected to give the struggling Spurs a run for their money, but an emphatic start to the game demoralised the North Londoners, who had no answer to their firepower.
Disappointment of the season
Just last term, Newcastle were fighting for their lives in the Premier League, but they rallied to an 11th placed finish and began the campaign with a fresh perspective.
They would have taken a top-half berth at the start of the season, so finishing in the top three and ensuring Champions League football represents a glorious debut campaign for the new owners.
What do the stats say?
Newcastle have finished in the top half of the Premier League table for the first time in over a decade, constituting a largely successful campaign with record-breaking statistics.
Newcastle lost five games this season – the lowest in their top-flight history, with four coming against teams among the traditional ‘top seven’.
Sharing the spoils was a common theme for the Magpies this season. They drew an eye-catching 14 games – the joint most of any side in the division alongside Brentford.
Howe would be impressed with his side’s defensive metrics, having conceded 33 goals – the lowest in the club’s history.
They also boast the joint best defensive record in the division alongside Premier League champions Manchester City.
Pope has been a standout performer in between the sticks. The 31-year-old helped his side run a tight ship in at the back with 14 clean sheets and an impressive goal-conceded ratio of 0.9 per match.
Newcastle’s 68 goals scored (1.8 per match) highlights how dangerous they were in attack, but their 78 big chances created (3.0 per game) suggest there is a hint of profligacy that they will need to improve on next term.
Newcastle have gone from surviving a relegation battle to earning a historic place in next season’s Champions League.
It is an achievement that will send shock waves across Europe, considering they have barely dipped into the vast wealth of their oil-rich owners.
The Magpies will hope to build on their successful campaign and establish themselves as a powerhouse in the English top flight but will need further reinforcements in the transfer market to progress those plans.
A Champions League place will allow the Tyneside outfit to attract the best players to St James’ Park, and their exciting project could prove hard to turn down.
The Saudi-based owners could not have hoped for a better debut campaign, and the Newcastle faithful will gaze into a bright future with delightful optimism.