Why aren't we seeing Eddie Howe’s usually impressive philosophy at Newcastle?

Why aren’t we Seeing Eddie Howe’s Usually Impressive Philosophy at Newcastle?

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By Jonathan Lewis | 7th FEB 2022

Eddie Howe is a manager that hasn’t ever been renowned for giving too much away whilst in his technical area, that was, however, before he took over at the world’s richest football team. We’ve seen changes in him since he began his stint at Newcastle United, which is a clear indication that the 44-year-old is feeling the pressure given the sheer outpouring of relief when his team scores.

Furthermore, Newcastle United are now priced at odds of 27/20 to be relegated, according to the latest football betting markets for the Premier League. You can easily picture a scenario where, if Newcastle isn’t careful, they’ll end up going down in May. Of course, the consensus is that Howe’s men will find a way to survive after throwing everything at the January transfer window in a bid to put enough individual talent on the pitch to win games.

You only needed to see his reaction to Jonjo Shelvey’s winning goal at Elland Road in late January to understand that this is a man who knows full-well that Newcastle are in a desperate fight for their Premier League lives. Failure won’t be tolerated by a ruthless regime at the top of the club.

In addition to that small margin for error, chances are that the former Bournemouth manager won’t ever be given the same freedom in the transfer window again if he were to leave St James’ Park, which means that it is now or never for him.

It’s important to say that the Newcastle hierarchy isn’t expecting miracles just yet and have only asked Howe to guide the Toon to safety after Steve Bruce was sacked in late October 2021. In essence, Newcastle’s new owners just want to start the 2022/2023 season in the Premier League and aren’t thinking about or expecting anything else given that when Bruce had left the club they were yet to win a league game.

Crucially, however, we’re yet to see any real notable change in the way Newcastle play. At least, this could be anyone’s team and hasn’t had Howe’s identity stamped on it yet. Yes, under Howe, Newcastle has managed to win two league games but they’re still in the relegation places three months on from Bruce’s sacking.

That does seem like the only way the Toon will avoid the drop: rely on their eye-watering wealth and not the tactical prowess of their incumbent manager. Indeed, Howe’s usual philosophy of staying high up the pitch in order to create as many attacking opportunities as possible is not currently evident in this Newcastle side. Even in the recent win against Leeds, it took a set-piece and a subsequent goalkeeping error to head back to the northeast with three points.

You could also argue that had the Elland Road side had a fit striker in their ranks then they would have been out of sight by halftime given how many times Raphinha, Leeds’s irrepressible Brazilian winger had teed up his teammates who could only spurn chance after chance.

Football is, of course, a game of fine margins that often involve hypothetical situations but the inevitable truth is that these things eventually even themselves out. In other words, the opposition won’t miss every week and Newcastle will at some stage need to formulate a game plan and then execute it if they are to stay up.

Jonathan Lewis is an MFF sports writer

Why aren't we seeing Eddie Howe’s usually impressive philosophy at Newcastle?