How Newcastle United's start under Steve Bruce in 2019/20 compares to Rafa Benitez & 2018/19

Steve Bruce and Rafa Benitez – where do you start with the comparisons?

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 4:50 pm
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 08: Allan Saint-Maximin of Newcastle United battles for possession with Moussa Djenepo of Southampton during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton FC at St. James Park on December 08, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

One is a Champions League winner with time served at Real Madrid, Liverpool, Inter Milan, Napoli and Valencia, while Bruce’s biggest challenges have come at the likes Sunderland, Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday.

Of course, you can counter that with an argument Benitez the player could not lace Bruce’s boots.

What is not up for debate is that Bruce's Newcastle United side of 2019/20 has made a better start to the Premier League season than Benitez’s class of 2018/19. But how much better?

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Here we take a look at how United's start under Benitez last season, stacks up against Bruce this, both after 16 games…

18/19 v 19/20: Points tally

Last season at this stage Newcastle United had 13 points from their 16 games, below the accepted average of a point per game keeps a team in the division. Compare that to this season – and United are flying. They currently have 22 points from the same number of games. That’s a NINE point swing this season.

18/19 v 19/20: Wins, draws, losses

The Magpies have won six of their 16 games in 2019/20 compared to just three under Benitez last season. The four draws of last season are equal to this but the defeats column offers a significant difference with United losing NINE compared to SIX this season.

18/19 v 19/20: Goals for, goals against, goal difference

Newcastle had scored just 13 goals in their opening 16 games last season, compare that to 17 under Bruce this. One statistic that does sway in the favour of last season’s team under Benitez is goals against – 23 goals this season, one less on 22 last.

18/19 v 19/20: Position – looking up, looking down

Sixteen games into the campaign Benitez’s United found themselves 15th in the Premier League table. Three points separated themselves and Huddersfield, who were relegated in May, in third bottom. 11 points separated United and the eventual European spots come the end of the season.

This season after 16 United are 11th in the top flight standings. They sit SEVEN clear of the bottom three and using seventh as a marker (Europa League last season) Bruce’s Magpies are just one point behind Tottenham Hotspur. 22 points in last season’s Premier League at this stage would also have put United inton 11th place in the table on goal difference.