It looks as though Southampton and Newcastle United will both have fairly tough seasons this year as both albeit for differing reasons.
Rafa Benitez has worked wonders at Newcastle and somehow got the club to 10th place but after a poor transfer market, it looks as though he’s going to be fighting an uphill battle.
Mark Hughes, however, has been backed in the transfer market but as of yet, Southampton’s season is yet to get going.
Following a terrible season with Stoke City, Southampton appointed Hughes in order to try and keep the club in the Premier League. The former Manchester United man did keep the south coast club in the league but in the long run, it’s tough to see Southampton doing well under the experienced manager.
Since a fairly solid spell at Manchester City, Hughes’ career has been a steady decline. At Fulham and QPR, he didn’t do too well and despite taking Stoke to one of their highest finishes in the club’s history, last year he seemed to press the self-destruct button and was rightly sacked after the side’s terrible form.
Southampton are a side that in recent history has always looked stable and seemingly one that always looks towards the future but in Hughes, they’ve brought in a manager who won’t take the Saints back up the league.
The club backed him in the summer but at the moment currently sit 16th and in truth, they’ll probably fighting relegation again.
TT Grade: D
Unfortunately for the Newcastle fans, it looks as though this might be Benitez’s last season at the club. The Spaniard is in the final year of his contract and at the moment, it doesn’t look like he’ll sign a new deal, especially if Mike Ashley remains the owner of the club.
Unlike Hughes, Benitez wasn’t backed in the transfer market and they’ve suffered. There’s no real top notch attacking talent at the club, which is something they had to address over the summer. The club has only scored six goals in the league and as it stands they sit bottom of the table.
While some may argue that the reason they sit bottom of the league is that Benitez has been overly negative in his formations but in reality, it’s the poor squad he has. Last year the Spaniard managed to take Newcastle to 10th but this year, it looks like they could be returning to the Championship. For a man that guided the side back into the Premier League, that will be incredibly disappointing for the Geordie faithful to see.
TT Grade: B
This wasn’t the hardest battle to evaluate. Mark Hughes remains a manager that somehow manages to get job after job in the league. He’s an overrated manager and not a patch on Benitez who actually has some managerial credibility. Unfortunately for Newcastle, Benitez’s tenure looks to be coming to an end and that may see Newcastle go through another tough period, Benitez wins this one.