Source: Imago Images
Source: Imago Images

What now for Newcastle United?

Football OlyBet 12.04.2024

With seven games to go, Newcastle are eighth, and will likely not finish any higher than sixth. They will not be back to the Champions League. The richest team in the world will be playing in a secondary European competition – or none at all. And they can not do much about it.

When PIF – Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund – finalised the deal to buy Newcastle in 2021, they became the wealthiest club overnight. By far. How wealthy? Well, at the moment of writing, the total estimated assets of PIF amounted to roughly 860 billion euros. Second on that list are PSG, owned by Qatari Investment, whose assets amount to half of that.

And yet Newcastle are in a pickle. If they want to play in Europe, they are obliged to meet the UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) requirements. It would be an interesting idea to see an all-star team without the desire to compete with the best, almost like a Saudi club but in the Premier League, but it is not a realistic idea. The best players are paid handsomely anyway and another million in their bank account will not motivate enough.

To buy, they will have to create revenue. But they are already operating close to their peak with their current commercial deals, spending around 95 percent on salaries. There is not much room to maneuver. Sell players? It is difficult to replace the top, top players. Selling for pocket money will not help much.

So the build continues. Newcastle needs to perform above expectations regularly (realistically: make it to the Champions League every season, not just once in ten years), hit their mark on the transfer market (spending 70 million euros on a gambler is not good business), and scout the future stars to build on that. Easier said than done.

Can this Newcastle squad make one step closer to Europe and which other games to enjoy over the weekend?

All times listed below are in Eastern European Summer Time (GMT+3).

Newcastle – Tottenham

Saturday 14:30

A year ago, Newcastle won this fixture 6-1, but this will not help them much now. But goals should still be expected, as Newcastle’s Premier League games have seen the most goals scored this season (117). They have scored in every home game so far, and Swedish striker Alexander Isak has scored in his last five league appearances at St James’s Park.

Newcastle are also in form, having lost just two of their last ten games (5W 3D), but Tottenham have scored at least once in their last 17 Premier League away games and are joint-fourth in the games-to-goals list (110) – goals should be expected. Heung-min Son has been vital for Tottenham as he has 24 goal contributions in his last 25 Premier League games, with 15 goals and nine assists to his name.

Arsenal – Aston Villa

Sunday 18:30

Arsenal are top once again, but a meeting vs Villa sandwiched between Champions League battles with Bayern Munich seems like a potential banana skin. They should be confident though, having won ten of their last eleven (1D – vs Man City) and having scored at least twice in each victory. Kai Havertz has been on fire, with nine goal involvements in his last seven league games.

Luckily for Arsenal, Villa have the Conference League to consider and they have two days less to prepare. They did win the reverse fixture on December 1-0 via a 7th-minute goal and hope to replicate that, but their recent form has been patchy with just one win in their last five league games (2D 2L).

Lyon – Brest

Sunday 21:45

This will be second against tenth, but not in the way one expected before the season. Brest have never finished higher than eighth (all the way back in 1987) before this season, while Lyon, although far away from their domination days, have not finished lower than eighth since forever (well, at least in the 21st century). Football is a funny game.

For Brest, the last six games will all be finals. They have a one-point lead over Monaco and three more vs Lille; they should finish in the top four (Nice is already nine points behind). But Lyon are looking to bounce back themselves, as fifth place is very much realistic. This will be one of the biggest games of the season.

The Betis Babble

OlyBet is the proud betting partner of Real Betis.

Next game: Friday 22:00 vs Celta Vigo

Athletic Bilbao did win the Copa del Rey, meaning a European lifeline was handed to the seventh-placed team in the league. Betis are currently eighth, two points off Valencia. They maybe – just maybe – could catch up with Real Sociedad as well, with seven points to make up in eight games.

The rescue starts at home against Celta Vigo, currently 17th. But they have been on the up recently, with just one loss (vs Real Madrid) in their last five games (2W 2D); they have scored almost as much as Betis (32 vs 36), but have conceded alarmingly more (36 vs 44). With Cadiz breathing down their necks, Celta know they need to do more.


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