Premier League 2015-16 season preview: Newcastle United

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Newcastle United barely survived in the Premier League last season, as the Magpies needed a win in the final match of the season to stave off relegation. Manager Alan Pardew left halfway through the season for Crystal Palace, and his replacement John Carver was sacked after barely keeping Newcastle in the top flight.

Owner Mike Ashley is one of the most talked about figures in the Premier League, and it’s not rare to see fans holding protests at St. James’ Park calling for the billionaire to sell the club. This season, new manager Steve McClaren will have to deal with both Ashley and restless supporters as a new era begins at Newcastle.

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The Magpies’ rivalry with Sunderland is one of the fiercest in the Premier League, with the first Tyne-Wear derby being played way back in 1888. However, Newcastle has struggled massively in the derby as of late, losing both matches last season to make it five straight losses to the Black Cats.

Best possible XI:

— Krul —

— Janmaat — Williamson — Coloccini — Dummett —

— Sissoko — Colback —

— Cabella — Wijnaldum — Perez —

— Cisse —

 

Transfers in: Georginio Wijnaldum ($23 million, PSV Eindhoven) Aleksander Mitrovic ($20 million, Anderlecht)

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Transfers out: Sammy Ameobi (season-long loan, Cardiff City), Ryan Taylor (free, Hull City), Jonas Gutierrez (released)

Wijnaldum was Steve McClaren’s first signing in charge at Newcastle.

Last season: Fifteenth place in the Premier League — Alan Pardew left for Crystal Palace midway through the season, and John Carver took over as Newcastle’s season imploded. A run of eight consecutive defeats led to the Magpies being in danger of relegation heading into the final match of last season, but they defeated West Ham to stay in the Premier League.

Star player: Georginio Wijnaldum — Often criticized as being a tight spender, owner Mike Ashley paid $23 million for Wijnaldum this summer, and he will be carrying a big workload for the Magpies. After being named Dutch Footballer of the Year last season and leading PSV to the Eredivisie title as club captain, Steve McClaren will need Wijnaldum to make a quick transition to the Premier League to help lead Newcastle back up the table.

Steve McClaren is tasked with turning around the Magpies after a disappointing 2014-15 campaign.

Coaches’ Corner: Steve McClaren is entering his first campaign in charge at St. James’ Park after managing Derby County in the Championship for the past two seasons. McClaren has top-flight experience on his resume, leading Middlesbrough in the Premier League from 2001-06 before being named manager of England. Newcastle wanted to bring in McClaren midway through last season when Alan Pardew left, but ended up staying in-house with the hiring of John Carver, which ended in disaster.

PST predicts: Things can’t go much worse than they did last season, and the signings of Wijnaldum and Mitrovic will add some much needed offense to Steve McClaren’s side. Newcastle shouldn’t be fighting off relegation on Championship Sunday this year, but are still a middle of the pack team that should finish outside the top-ten.