Newcastle United remain in a precarious position near the bottom of the Premier League table as the competition begins to head into the second half of the campaign.
The Magpies were struggling at this point last season as well, however, a magnificent turnaround in form saw Rafa Benitez’s side manage to climb up the table and finish in 10th – 11 points clear of the drop.
Two men that played a huge role in turning things around were Martin Dubravka and Kenedy, who both initially arrived at St. James’ Park on loan deals.
However, 12 months on, who has managed to achieve more during their time at The Toon Army?
The Slovakia goalkeeper originally arrived on a temporary deal from Sparta Prague and made an immediate impact on the side.
The 30-year-old goalkeeper, who is valued at £4.5million per Transfermarkt, managed to keep a clean sheet against Manchester United in his Premier League debut and made a further 11 appearances that season keeping opponents out a further three times.
Newcastle decided to turn his loan switch into a permanent deal and despite their lowly position in the league, will not have looked back on that decision.
Being a mainstay in the side, Dubravka continued where he left off from last season, as he has currently picked up seven clean sheets in his 23 appearances so far and has won Benitez’s side a number of points with his performances.
TT Grade: B+
The Brazilian winger joined on loan from Chelsea until the end of the 2017/18 season and made an impact straight away.
The 22-year-old managed to provide an important assist on his Premier League debut against Burnley to help Newcastle earn a point. Kenedy also managed to get a brace in the game against Southampton before providing another assist in their match against Huddersfield Town, which proved to be the winning goal.
However, since re-joining the side on a season-long loan this summer, the Brazilian has failed to hit the heights he looked destined to achieve just months prior.
He has had a poor season so far, having scored just once and providing one assist in his 18 top-flight matches. The game against Cardiff City at the beginning of the season will stand out for him, as he missed the chance to net a potential winner from the penalty spot after being lucky not to be shown a red card.
TT Grade: C+
There is no doubt that Newcastle are in a slump at the minute, although the win against Cardiff could be exactly what they need to push on.
Kenedy has struggled to continue his fine form from last season and The Magpies have dearly missed the contributions that he is capable of producing.
Dubravka has been key for the club over the past 12 months and has been rather solid during his time at St. James’ Park, meaning he wins this particular battle.
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