Toon up, macams down. It was always going to be hard for Sunderland without the guaranteed six points they got by beating Newcastle home and away and I’m a Newcastle supporter. They will probably come straight back up and will enjoy an easier season next year.
For the toon, unless Newcastle strengthen with about six first team players, we will be heading back the other way again.
For me, only Ritchie, Lascelles, Gayle, Atsu, Mbemba, Diame and Shelvey cut the mustard in the Premiership although Diame and Mbemba didn’t play every week this season, which I was surprised by. If Rafa couldn’t play them in the Championship every week he will probably look to sell these players and replace them.
Ayoze, Dummett, Colback, Darlow and Yedlin are ok but probably only as squad players in a club that has genuine aspirations to stay in the Premiership.
We may as well sell Mitrovic, who hardly featured this season and should have lit up the division, Haidara, Hanley, Clark, Lazaar, Gouffran, Hayden and Murphy. These players cannot hope to influence the Premiership very much or at least didn’t in the past. Hanley and Clark will probably stay though.
Rolando Aarons hardly got a game so will struggle with the step up to the highest level this season and will probably be loaned out again. It’s a big step up for Adam Armstrong so he will probably head back out on loan too, although I’d like to see him be given a chance alongside Gayle for a pacey front line. Pace hurts defenders at every level and with service from Ritchie and Shelvey, it might work.
The reality is Newcastle need a lot of new players who are proven Premier League grinders. If not, it might be a tough year for us.