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What Newcastle United still need to do in the final week of the transfer window

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What Newcastle United still need to do in the final week of the transfer window to ensure Premier League survival

Newcastle United’s starting XI in their 1-0 win over Leeds United showed that plenty still needs doing as clubs head into the final week of the January transfer window.

Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood, both signings made this January, started but there remained a familiar look to the Tyneside club’s side. And while they ultimately capitalised on an Ilan Meslier mistake to register a narrow victory over Leeds, more quality is evidently needed.

How many points do they need to avoid relegation?

The 40 point mark is usually considered “safety” in the Premier League, with only one club having been relegated with more than 40 points in the League’s history (When West Ham were relegated with 42 in 2002-2003).

However, this mark has only been reached once in the last decade by the club that finished in 17th place (Watford in 2016-17). Aston Villa survived by the skin of their teeth with just 35 points in 2019-20, but it was a close run affair and one that the Magpies will wish to avoid.

Meanwhile, the lowest points total a club have avoided being relegated is 34, achieved by West Bromwich Albion in 2004-05.

In short, then, history tells us that Newcastle need to finish with more than 34 points in order to survive the drop.

On current form, they average 0.71 points per game, good enough for a measly 27 points when extrapolated for the season. In their last 17 games, the Magpies need to find a minimum of 19 points. So, what else do they need to do this window?

Priority number one: Centre Back

It is truly baffling that this issue has not yet been addressed in January. Understandably, the Magpies have lofty ideals following their cash injection, but their chase of Sven Botman and Diego Carlos have not yet borne fruit, and threaten never to.

Meanwhile, the likes of Nat Phillips remain on the transfer market. While not a world-beater by any stretch of the imagination, he offers a Premier League experienced upgrade on current options for Eddie Howe.

One if not two new defenders are needed before the deadline passes, with Newcastle still having conceded the second-most goals in the top-flight, with only Norwich having shipped more.

Another striker in the works?

Another attacker wouldn’t go amiss either. A glance at Eddie Howe’s options from the bench against Leeds sees Dwight Gayle and Miguel Almiron as the only recognised attacking options to call upon.

Gayle, now 32 years old, last scored a Premier League goal in December 2020, while Almiron’s brace against Southampton, the last time he found the net in the Premier League, came in February 2021. Hardly game-changing options.

What Newcastle United still need to do in the final week of the transfer window to ensure Premier League survival

Jetro Willems of Newcastle United celebrates with teammates Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron of Newcastle United after scoring his team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester City at St. James Park on November 30, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The romantic story would be for Callum Wilson to return from injury and propel Newcastle to safety, but the 29-year-old’s injury record suggests that this cannot be a reliable option, while Chris Wood has found the net just 3 times in the Premier League this season.

As the old saying goes, “goals win games”, and to that end Newcastle need to add another forward to their ranks in order to be confident of survival.

Links to Duvan Zapata make sense, and would be a good signing despite the fact that he is now 30 years old. If it is not Zapata, however, Newcastle simply have to bring someone in.

Central midfield- can they get by?

One position that could be a useful place to upgrade again is in central midfield. Joelinton has been reborn in the box-to-box role that Eddie Howe has used him in, but Joe Willock has struggled since his big-money move from Arsenal in the summer, failing to replicate the form that made Newcastle splash out on him.

Meanwhile, Jonjo Shelvey is a fabulous technician, but often hit-and-miss in the middle of the park. While another body would be useful to take some of the onus off the trio, it could be too much to ask this January with so much to address elsewhere unless loan moves for either Jesse Lingard or Dele Alli materialise late on.

Useful but not priorities- Goalkeeper and left-back

Links to goalkeeper Bernd Leno and left-back Mitchel Bakker suggest that these are positions that Eddie Howe is looking to strengthen, but if push comes to shove, they should be able to get by.

What Newcastle United still need to do in the final week of the transfer window to ensure Premier League survival

Arsenal’s German goalkeeper Bernd Leno saves a shot from Liverpool’s Portuguese striker Diogo Jota (Photo by PETER BYRNE/AFP via Getty Images)

The goalkeeping situation is not pretty: Newcastle have a post-shot xG of -4.6, meaning that they have conceded 4.6 more goals than they “should” have as per the model, while their goalkeeper’s save percentage stands at just 62%, the third-worst in the top-flight.

But, should they strengthen defensively, the Magpies will see this have less of an effect, as whoever is between the posts will have fewer shots to save.

Likewise, left-back would be a nice addition, but is far less important than strengthening the spine of the side.

Work to be done

In the last week of the transfer window then, Newcastle need to be looking to bring in at least a centre back and a striker. A midfielder would be a nice addition, while a goalkeeper and left-back are good but not crucial additions this January.

Newcastle fans will be hoping to see some movement even with the club currently on winter break in Jeddah.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 23 41 57
2 Liverpool FC 21 37 45
3 Chelsea FC 23 28 44
4 Manchester United 22 6 38
5 West Ham United 23 10 37
6 Tottenham Hotspur 19 4 36
7 Arsenal FC 20 8 35
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 3 34
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 21 0 29
10 Aston Villa 21 -4 26
11 Leicester City 19 -3 25
12 Southampton FC 22 -8 25
13 Crystal Palace 21 -1 24
14 Brentford FC 23 -12 23
15 Leeds United 21 -16 22
16 Everton FC 20 -11 19
17 Norwich City 22 -32 16
18 Newcastle United 21 -22 15
19 Watford FC 20 -17 14
20 Burnley FC 17 -11 11
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 6
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Maddison, James Leicester City 6





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‘There was never a lack of effort’ Edu Gaspar speaks out on Arsenal’s January transfer window

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‘There was never a lack of effort’ Edu Gaspar speaks out on Arsenal’s January transfer window

Arsenal’s Technical Director Edu Gaspar has taken to Instagram to assess the season that the club have had following their final day 5-1 win over Everton.

The Gunners ended the season fifth, two points behind Tottenham, having been four points ahead with three games to play. It was a disappointing end to a campaign that promised much for Mikel Arteta and co., and plenty were quick to point to the January transfer window as a key game-changer in north London.

Spurs added Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur to their side on deadline day, while Arsenal chased Dusan Vlahovic and Arthur Melo but, ultimately, came up empty-handed.

It left the club forced to rely on the fitness of key players, but injuries to Thomas Partey, Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu left them woefully exposed in what ended up an underwhelming end to the season.

And plenty of ire was aimed in the direction of Edu Gaspar for the lack of action, but the Gunners transfer director has now hit back on Instagram, claiming that ‘there was never a lack of effort, dedication and commitment and hours of work from no one in the club to end the season in the best way possible’.

Taking to social media platform Instagram, he revealed:

‘Thank you season 2021/22. I have to say how proud I am to be a part of this team. We went through different moments during the season, but in all of them we believed in what we were working on- especially in our players.’

‘I can guarantee, there was never a lack of effort, dedication and commitment and hours of work from no one in the club to end the season in the best way possible’

‘I’m really looking forward to the season 2022/23.’

It is safe to say that Arsenal are likely to be busy once more this summer, and Edu will again have his work cut out to raise the level of the squad.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 37 72 90
2 Liverpool FC 37 66 89
3 Chelsea FC 37 42 71
4 Tottenham Hotspur 37 24 68
5 Arsenal FC 37 9 66
6 Manchester United 37 1 58
7 West Ham United 37 11 56
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 37 -3 51
9 Leicester City 37 0 49
10 Brighton & Hove Albion 37 -4 48
11 Brentford FC 37 -7 46
12 Newcastle United 37 -19 46
13 Crystal Palace 37 3 45
14 Aston Villa 37 -1 45
15 Southampton FC 37 -21 40
16 Everton FC 37 -19 39
17 Burnley FC 37 -18 35
18 Leeds United 37 -38 35
19 Watford FC 37 -42 23
20 Norwich City 37 -56 22
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 23
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 23
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 18
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur 17
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 16
De Bruyne, Kevin Manchester City 15
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 15
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 15
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace 14
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 13
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 12
Maddison, James Leicester City 12
Toney, Ivan Brentford FC 12
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 11
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 11
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 11
Richarlison Everton FC 11
Pukki, Teemu Norwich City 11
Raphinha Leeds United 11
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa 11





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Jack Grealish offers honest assessment of first Manchester City season

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Jack Grealish offers honest assessment of first Manchester City season

Jack Grealish has offered up an honest assessment of his first season in a Manchester City shirt.

Grealish of course signed for Manchester City in the summer of 2021, smashing the Premier League transfer record to set the Sky Blues back £100m.

With such a high price tag and much of the league having a natural hatred towards Manchester City due to their owners, there was a lot of pressure on Grealish to deliver.

However, though he showed patches of quality, it is fair to say that the 26-year-old has not been at his best this term.

Grealish scored three and assisted three in 26 league games with his most memorable moments those misses at the end of normal time during Manchester City’s second leg semi-final with Real Madrid.

Regardless of his struggles, though, Grealish still ended 2021/22 with a league title – something he has been discussing recently:

“It’s unbelievable. I ran down the tunnel and cried my eyes out,” Grealish admitted.

“Honestly, I can’t put it into words, I was crying my eyes out. The medal means everything. For me, I’ve never won it so I’m so happy!

“As a kid you want to win the Premier League and to win the Premier League… I can’t put it into words honestly. We know how good of a side Villa are and they showed it. With our quality we can beat anyone.”

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Grealish also reflected on his first season at the Etihad: “In four words, harder than I thought. I’ve enjoyed every minute. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone but honestly this makes up for it,” Grealish added.

“I know that I can (kick-on) and I certainly will. I feel like I played my part, like that goal v West Ham. I can kick on so much more. I know myself how much of a role I have to play at this club.

“These guys here have made me feel so welcome. Honestly, the lads here are unbelievable and I love them so much. Pep’s a genius. He’s unbelievable football wise. I’d love for you to come in and watch one of his team talks before the game.

“Working with him day to day on the training pitch is unbelievable. I’ve got the medal here now so hopefully many more.”

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Why Richarlison is absent from Everton’s squad to face Arsenal

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Why Richarlison is absent from Everton’s squad to face Arsenal

 

An explanation for the absence of star attacker Richarlison from Everton’s matchday squad to face Arsenal has been provided on Sunday evening.

Frank Lampard’s Toffees are of course set to return to action in short order.

After securing the club’s top-flight status for another year courtesy of a comeback 3-2 downing of Crystal Palace in midweek, the Toffees will see out their campaign at the Emirates, in a Premier League meeting with the aforementioned Arsenal.

Though the day’s visitors have little to play for in the clash, Arsenal will be desperate for all three points, amid feint hopes of leapfrogging city rivals Tottenham into the top-4 by the close of the evening’s fixtures.

Everton, in turn, could face a tough assignment at the Emirates.

It therefore came as a major surprise when, as alluded to above, a key member of Lampard’s first-choice XI was nowhere to be seen upon the club’s latest matchday XI being unveiled.

The player in question? Richarlison:

Chatter had therefore since quickly spread across the Everton fanbase, amid the suggestion that the Brazilian may have simply been afforded the evening off, in a bid to recuperate on the back of a draining few weeks.

This, however, is seemingly not the case.

As per Everton insider ‘The Bobble’, viewed as highly reliable amongst Blues circles, Richarlison has in fact been forced to sit out in north London owing to what is described as a ‘minor injury’:

 

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This article was edited by
Josh Barker.





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