Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has set the goal for his team during the 2014/15 season to be 48 points, a mid-table finish, and one fewer than where the club ended up last season.
When asked if Newcastle’s target was to finish in the top half of the Premier League standings again this season, the 53-year-old manager told Sky Sports:
“Well, the average for this club over the last 10 years in the Premiership is 48 points, and I think if we get that or anything above that, I think it will be a good season for us.
“But at this stage of the season, like all clubs, we dream higher than that. We’ll have to see where we go and we got another window to get through in the winter, which caused us damage last time and hopefully we conduct our business well in that window and strengthen again, and if we can, I think we can have a great season.”
Despite strengthening his squad this summer, it seems odd of Pardew to still make 48 points a goal for the club. It’s very possible that Pardew is setting the bar low to keep the pressure off of both himself and his players; however, the presumed lack of ambition will most likely not sit well with the Newcastle fans.
Over the last five seasons, exactly 48 points at the end of the Premier League season would have landed a team in 11th, 9th, 10th, 9th, and 11th place. If the Magpies were to finish with 48 points following the upcoming season, they would actually close out the campaign with one less point than last season. In the four seasons since being promoted back into the Premier League following the 2009-10 season, Newcastle has finished with more than 48 points twice (including netting 65 points in the 2011-12 season).
The Magpies have seemingly had a positive summer transfer window with Remy Cabella, Jack Colback, Siem de Jong, Emmanuel Rivière and Daryl Janmaat among the arrivals at St. James’ Park. Pardew was upbeat when asked about his new recruits, “We’ve brought in some real quality this year and, you know, with the loss of (Yohan) Cabaye last year it was important to add some offensive stability to our team and to strengthen it. We’re really pleased with what we’ve done (in the transfer window).”
Although Pardew might be playing it cool on his team’s chances this season, Newcastle fans should be more optimistic. With the additions of Cabella and de Jong specifically, there is no doubting that this year’s Newcastle team trumps last year’s squad. While the manager rates de Jong extremely high (Pardew even said that the Netherlands international could be one of the best players that he has ever managed), Cabella might be even better. The 24-year-old Cabella scored 14 Ligue 1 goals for French club Montpellier last season, receiving nine Man of the Match awards in the process.