Last week, Alan Pardew, in his interview to BBC’s Football Focus show before his sides trip to Anfield, gave the indication that he believes that his current team can aim to finish in the top four.
With those comments in mind, is this a side that can build on the success that they generated last season?
Opposing sides seem to have sussed the Toon out more than last season and key players such as Yohan Cabaye and Papiss Cisse have had a hard time showing their ability on the whole. Expectations on the Tyne have raised considerably this year and rightly so. The team that performed to bring European football back to St James’ Park is one that should be playing well, especially when you consider this is a side that has had relatively little disruption over the summer.
Results have been mixed, performances have differed between from half to half let alone from match to match and the sheer amount of games to be played seem to be taking a toll on the side in one way or another, whether it be from tiredness or a lack of continuity born out of trying to avoid the former.
A rhythm has yet to be found this season by manager Alan Pardew, one needs to be found quickly to allow the team to push on further than they did last year. Part of Newcastle’s success last year was building unbeaten runs to create a solid foundation of points, this season there has been none of that.
Injuries have hampered the squad considerably, with a fully fit team at his disposal, Alan Pardew will have a very strong side to compete with.
There is no reason why this current Newcastle team can’t push on higher than they did last season. Look at our next five league games – West Ham (h), Swansea (h), Southampton (a), Stoke (a) and Wigan (h) – and you will see there is opportunity to progress up the table.
Of course it is always hard to consolidate or push on in every season but this year it may be harder than ever due to how open the Premier League looks again. Those fixtures may look easier on paper but the Premier League rarely works out like that.
Should the team be looking to aim for a top four finish?