Newcastle United confirmed their promotion back to the Premier League on Tuesday night, beating Preston North End 4-1 at St James’ Park. It means that they’ve achieved bouncing back to the top flight at the first time of asking – a rarer feat than you might think from what is always a difficult division to get out of.
With the Toon Army back up, it means that they’re squad will be ripe for the picking in terms of FPL choices next season.
Below is a run down of their stand out performers from the 2016/17 campaign:
He’s no Alan Shearer, but the impact Dwight Gayle has made on Tyneside since his arrival means he may well be the most loved striker the club have had since their most famous number nine retired. Crystal Palace fans had respect for Gayle – a player who always seemed to scored goals whenever he afforded rare chances in the first team. Commanding a £10m fee, pressure was on the forward to score the goals that would fire the Magpies back up, and 22 goals from 31 appearances in the league is an excellent return. In The Championship, only Chris Wood and Tammy Abraham have more, and from far more games too. Snap Gayle up if he’s priced between £6-7m next season, as he’ll be a great third striker so long as he can stay fit. Ayoze Perez, with eight goals and five assists could be a viable option if you want someone even cheaper, but Aleksander Mitrovic and his tendency for cards should be avoided, despite ‘mellowing’ ever so slightly since he was last playing in the Premier League.
Another signing last summer is the star man here, and that man is Matt Ritchie, formerly of Bournemouth. Ritchie’s drop down to the second tier was a bit of a surprise when it happened, but he’s produced the goods to fire Newcastle straight back up, which he always stated was his plan. 12 goals and seven assists is a cracking haul from the Scot, who will likely be priced between £6-6.5m when the next season’s game launches. Like Gayle, Ritchie will play with something to prove when he gets another chance in the top division next year. Jonjo Shelvey, arguably the club’s most naturally gifted player, should be priced a little lower given he doesn’t contribute quite as many attacking returns. It should be noted that Ritchie and Shelvey have 19 bookings and a red between them in the league this year, so it’s worth being aware that selecting either could be accompanied by the odd points loss for their cards. Mo Diame, Yoann Gouffran and Jack Colback are regular options in Rafa Benitez’s midfield but from an FPL perspective, these would probably be 15th player options as I scrambled to fine tune my budget!
Of Newcastle’s regular starters, only Shelvey has more pass attempts and better success than captain Jamaal Lascelles. That’s a mundane stat, but often it’s this type of centre back that reaps the rewards when bonus points are handed out during a match. It’s something to bear in mind, particularly as only league leaders Brighton have conceded less goals this season. Lascelles and Ciaran Clark – mainstays at the back this term – both have three league goals each, as well as three assists between them too. Paul Dummett, Isaac Hayden and DeAndre Yedlin are all worth consideration as well, and again all are likely to be cheap options as you look to select your last defender. In goal, Tim Krul used to be a save points machine for Newcastle but whether he returns from Holland on loan remains to be seen. Between the sticks this season has mostly been Karl Darlow, who has kept 13 clean sheets in 34 matches. Darlow begun the season behind Matz Sels as backup goalie, but the two switched roles and the ex-Nottingham Forest stopper hasn’t looked back since. I think Darlow will be priced at around £4m, with the potential to be next season’s Eldin Jakupovic, proving to be a valuable backup for those who choose to indulge in someone more expensive.
Written by Joe McPhee (@JPMc99)