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2010/2011 Premier League Preview: Newcastle United

Newcastle United are back in the Premier League, but are they capable of staying there?

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Manager: Chris Hughton
Position Last Season: 1st in Championship
Transfers In: Dan Gosling, James Perch, Sol Campbell
Transfers  Out: Nicky Butt, Fabrice Pancrate
Newcastle didn’t exactly struggle to gain promotion back into the Premier League, and retaining their best players was vital in doing so. They return to the country’s top league with a similar squad to the one in which got them relegated two seasons ago, but with things looking less messy around St James’ Park there is much optimism that the team can secure their status in the top flight.

Adding to their sometimes frail defence was a priority this summer, and with the experienced Sol Campbell and the younger James Perch they have done just that. The new additions will provide the much needed competition for players such as Fabricio Coloccini and Jose Enrique who when playing in the Premier League two seasons ago, failed to convince. Steven Taylor is currently injured and could be out for some time, meaning that the new signings will be thrown into the equation straight away.

The team’s midfield contains the sort of players required for a heated relegation battle. Alan Smith and Joey Barton will fear no-one, and are certain to play every game like it is their last. Jonas Gutierrez will provide creativity, whilst Kevin Nolan will offer a goalscoring threat. Others such as Daniel Guthrie and Wayne Routledge will also be hoping to have their opportunities to impress.

Upfront, Andy Carroll was the star man last season, and has all the attributes to succeed in the Premier League. The club have trusted the player with the famous number 9 shirt, once occupied by a man named Alan Shearer, and will be looking to him as their main goalscoring threat. The likes of Leon Best, Peter Lovenkrands and 19-year-old Nile Ranger will be competing for the second striker position.

With more additions looking unlikely, Chris Hughton will be hoping that his players can steer clear of any injuries. Although he has proved that he is more than worthy of managing the club, his hopes of keeping Newcastle in the Premier League could hinge on such luck this season.

Caughtoffside Prediction: Providing their players perform to the best of their abilities, Newcastle should steer clear of relegation this season. Just.

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