ROUNDBALL DAILY

With smart signings and clever managing, Newcastle is here to stay in Premier League

Callum Wilson has been well worth the money for the Magpies, who now have enough offensive firepower to win plenty of games.

Aston Villa will get a lot of press (even here) this week, and deservedly so after orchestrating one of the most shocking results in Premier League history on Sunday.

But Villa isn’t the only big club that has seen its fortunes turn around this season.

Speaking of which– what a job Steve Bruce has done at Newcastle United.

Newcastle fans, who are like if Philadelphia Eagles fans rooted for the Browns, were characteristically apoplectic about Bruce’s hiring after the popular and would-be club-saving manager Rafael Benitez quit and self-exiled to China in 2019. But Bruce has taken over and done an even better job than the former Real Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea boss.

When Bruce, an English football lifer and journeyman manager took the reigns, Newcastle was being talked about as a clear relegation candidate. Many pundits, including The Guardian’s Barry Glendenning (not singling him out, just acknowledging that I’m a fan) were certain of their impending doom.

But after the squad was bolstered with some deft signings, including MLS MVP Miguel Almiron, Bournemouth club legend Callum Wilson and club pariah Ryan Fraser, this team is in a much better position than they were when Bruce was brought in.

The Magpies are 2-1-1 this season after a convincing 3-0 thumping of Burnley this weekend. They earned a draw at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last weekend (though on a controversial stoppage-time penalty), and bossed around West Ham in a 2-0 season-opening win. There’s suddenly more than enough talent here to not only stay up, but make things enjoyable with fans who have suffered with this club for a long time.

Wilson, who’s scored four goals in four games in that distinctive Newcastle uni, just might be England’s most often-overlooked striker. He could flourish with guys like the speedy Almiron, Joelinton, and Andy Carroll flanking him, and midfielders like Allan Saint-Maximin looking to get him the ball.

Saint-Maximin has been absolutely brilliant this season, and his next-level speed, shiftiness and soccer IQ have caused opponents fits. The 23-year-old winger is the talk of Tyneside this season, and fans are hoping they can keep it that way for a long time.

Newcastle may not have any huge names, or Monopoly-money signings, but this squad could compete for a top-half finish– no joke. That thought seemed an impossibility when the old re-tread Bruce was hired. Whatever happens, relegation certainly doesn’t look like a worry, and that ought to be a sigh of relief.

Fans may still be sour, but things are looking up on Tyneside.

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