Newcastle United were taken over by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia almost a year ago now – and what a year it's been.
The Magpies were languishing bottom of the tree when the new owners came in, favourites to be relegated before Eddie Howe was appointed just a game into their tenure. The former Bournemouth boss has galvanised the Toon: big signings have helped, of course, but they look like a completely different side.
So what's the ceiling of the ambition on Tyneside this season? Let's analyse what this Newcastle side should be aiming to do statistically…
Newcastle United's form since Eddie Howe took over: Good enough for a top-six finish
It took a little while to get going, admittedly. Newcastle drew 3-3 with Brentford in Howe's first match in the dugout before losing 2-0 away to Arsenal. They'd draw with Norwich in a relegation six-pointer, Howe would beat his former employers Burnley and then came three consecutive losses on the trot.
But still, Newcastle's record in 2021/22 after Howe took over is great…
44 points in 27 matches works out at an average of 1.62 per game. That would see you earn 61.93 across the season – so let's round that up to 62, shall we?
62 points last season would have placed Newcastle sixth in the table, just between Arsenal and Manchester United. Europa League football would be coming to St. James's Park this season.
Of course, we're just going off last season's fixtures here. If you were to include this season's first few games, that's still 59.3 points for the Magpies – a point more than Man United managed. Not bad, either, considering Howe's boys have already played Manchester City and Liverpool this season.
Newcastle United's form since February's transfer window: Good enough top three
We all knew that Newcastle would be a totally different team when they got in a few better players. Their transformation has perhaps surprised even the most optimistic Geordies, though.
Bruno Guimaraes, Kieran Trippier, Dan Burn and others arrived in February and the entire outlook changed. Newcastle motored out of the bottom three, eventually finishing 11th after threatening the top half of the table.
34 points in 17 games is easy to work out: two points per game. Across the season, that works out at 76 points a season.
And you don't need to be a mathematician to work out how good that is. Only Liverpool and Manchester City managed more points than that last season – 76 points has been enough of a tally to secure third in each of the last four seasons. With Liverpool struggling at the start of this season, it may even be enough to secure second, with 2020/21 seeing United finish with 74 behind champions City.
The tally drops to 69.09 when you work out what Newcastle should be aiming for based on February 1 to the Liverpool defeat – but again, considering they've played last season's top two, that's still impressive.
With Alexander Isak to fully integrate into the side, too, there might even be more goals in this Newcastle side…
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