Premier League profile 2015/16: Newcastle United
Steve McClaren’s appointment at St James’ Park was met with an indifferent response from the Toon faithful, and the experienced new head-coach is 11/4 with Coral to guide the Magpies to a top 10 finish this term.
Despite his long-standing career, which spans from time in England with Middlesbrough to spells in Germany and the Netherlands with FC Twente and Wolfsburg respectively, McClaren must hit the ground running.
At such an ambitious and demanding club, from both fans and especially the controversial hierarchy, McClaren will have to make a big impact and improvement on last term if he is to fully assure his position.
After offloading several squad players earlier in the summer, the new coach has virtually the same squad as his predecessor John Carver, although three high-profile arrivals have boosted the polished set-up.
In defence, Chancel Mbemba will provide the Toon rear guard with a great sense of calmness and assurance, with the 20-year-old set to become a top defender on Tyneside, despite his youthfulness. His astute defensive abilities will help veterans Fabricio Coloccini, Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson, whoever is chosen to partner the DR Congo international.
Dutch stopper Tim Krul will undoubtedly take his rightful place between the St James Park sticks, but may need to be on full alert all season, with Mbemba unable to hold all the weight on his shoulders.
Newcastle’s retaining of Daryl Janmaat could prove a pivotal coup, with the Dutchman having been one of the club’s top performers at the end of last term.
Other new signing Georginio Wijnaldum could easily become one of the signings of the season if he continues on where he left off for PSV last term, with his creative abilities set to help McClaren’s men immensely in attack.
Moussa Sissoko has been recently linked with a move away from Newcastle, but the Frenchman looks likely to stay put, and his contributions are key to any success under McClaren. The midfield powerhouse’s bursting runs forward and vital goals will be a much-needed asset in the central areas.
Remy Cabella showed glimpses of brilliance last season but must perform at a higher level more regularly in order to prolong a successful career, while Cheik Tiote, Siem De Jong and Jack Colback will feature heavily.
As part of the arriving Anderlecht duo, Aleksandar Mitrovic joins Mbemba on Tyneside, and the ferocious frontman has the astute attacking abilities to become a new St James’ Park hero. The 20-year-old Serbia international hitman could be thrown in at the deep-end and expected to instantly be the club’s main source of goals, but he possesses the talents to do so effectively (66/1 to finish top scorer).
The Serbian’s fellow strikeforce of Papiss Cisse, Emmanuel Riviere, and potentially Adam Campbell, will need to find goalscoring as well in order for McClaren to enjoy an instantly promising campaign in charge.
Ayoze Perez, meanwhile showed his huge potential last campaign and will be looking to build on a promising spell on at the club so far. He has demonstrated his versatility in pre-season, playing in a midfield role and this could be a big factor which determines how much game-time he gets in his second Tyneside term.
Although, at this ambitious club, controversy is never far from rearing its ugly head, and Newcastle are 11/2 to face relegation once again.