Another win in the bag and a deserved rest for the troops after capping off the great start to the season this week with two wins.
Even sweeter was the news that we are one of only six clubs in the whole of Europe to still remain unbeaten in their domestic league.
The other five.. our next opponents Manchester City, the superpowers of Portugal in Benfica and Porto, Serie A giants Juventus and current Champions League and Primera Liga holders, the mighty Barcelona.
Just to compare Newcastle with the others in terms of games played and points return, the table below shows how we shape up…
That table is a bit out of date as Barcelona drew last night to go level with us, but even if all sides with games in hand win those games Newcastle would still be equal with Juventus on points, within 3 points of Barcelona, 4 of Benfica and Porto and 6 of Man City.
Not for a second do I think we are suddenly on the same plateau as these sides or anywhere near title contending but it shows exactly how strong our start to the season has been.
Fact is every other side apart from Newcastle that remain unbeaten are genuine title contenders or reigning champions in their given leagues and two of which are also current holders of the two European cups.
On top of that I think it is safe to say that regardless of the critics opinions on the opposition Newcastle have faced to date, the Premier League is the strongest league in Europe. The weaker sides of England provide far more of a test than the bottom half sides of any of the other leagues represented.
As for that supposed weakness or lack of a real test for Newcastle so far, it actually baffles me where this opinion has come from given these so called critics and experts are supposed to be extremely knowledgeable, at the very least do their homework.
Newly promoted QPR aside, six of the other ten teams we have played not only finished above Newcastle last season but all finished in the top half of the table.
Again QPR aside, two of the other three draws we have gotten were against Arsenal and Spurs, two Champions League standard sides. The other, a draw away to Aston Villa, a game which we fully deserved to win and were denied only by a string of top class saves from Shay Given.
Out of the wins we have under our belt, only two would have been looked at before the season began as genuinely winnable games in Wigan and Blackburn. The other five were all games we would have possibly taken a draw from, or been tipped to lose.
Of the other five only two have been at home and were both against sides who have consistently finished in the top half the past few seasons. Those two being Everton and Fulham.
The other three, all away wins. Wolves was touch and go admittedly, but to say that deserved wins in firstly a derby game in enemy territory and secondly a trip to the Brittania, where Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Fulham have all failed to win does not count as an achievement or real test is laughable.
It has become a bit annoying at this stage to say we haven`t faced a real test yet and I’m sure a bit disrespectful to fans of some of the sides we have faced as well as the teams themselves.
Fact is whether it be down to dominance or defensive strength results are what counts and we have achieved some great ones and, this shouldn’t be taken lightly, remain one of only six teams in the whole of Europe to remain unbeaten in their domestic league, with more games played than all but Manchester City.
I fully expect tougher times ahead and a more realistic look at league position come the second week of December, and with that some smug told you so critics having their usual sly digs, but for now we are making a lot of supposed experts who tipped us to really struggle well and truly eat their words.
My original expectations were that we would do well to finish top half and I’d be more than happy with eighth position this season. That remains the realistic aim in my eyes and I’m sure most eyes despite claims Toon fans are getting carried away with themselves.
What has changed is the realistic aim is now seventh or eighth, rather than scraping top ten. For now though we can’t be begrudged living it up and being extremely proud of our teams achievements so far.
Third position in the league, one point off Man Utd and six off the top with nearly a third of the season gone. Who would have thought?!