Getting there…

Slowly heading the right way?
Newcastle are now ten games into the Premier League season, and have competed in six Europa league ties including a two-legged qualifier.

Whilst it is still too early to call how the season will pan out, the trend in the performances so far can at least give clues as to how competitive we are likely to be over 38 games.

Thus far, United have played against five of the current top six in the league, namely Tottenham (H), Chelsea (A), Everton (A), Manchester United (H), and West Brom (H). We have also visited the grounds of our nearest rivals Sunderland, and our biggest away day menaces Liverpool. The remaining three games consist of a home draw against Aston Villa, an away draw against newly promoted Reading and a home win against former boss Chris Hughton’s Norwich.

Looking at the games played so far our points tally of 14 from a possible 30 appears to be a decent return; however there is a feeling amongst some supporters of frustration at opportunities missed in a number of encounters. With hindsight, the points collected at Anfield and the Stadium of Light can certainly be considered as points gained under the circumstances – being a man down on both occasions – yet given our dire record at Anfield and the significance of the derby game, one can be excused for feeling a little deflated after conceding in both games from winning positions. Whilst not looking much of an attacking threat in either contest – for the whole game against Sunderland and up until Suarez’s sublime equaliser at Anfield – we were fairly solid defensively and hence looking decent value for maximum points.

The point snatched at Everton can only be deemed as valuable whichever way you look at it. Up against a strong side likely to push the top four all the way this season – and on the back foot for much of the contest – I think fans and staff alike were happy to come away with a share of the spoils. Similarly at Reading, a point was just about deserved following a poor performance, the difference with this one though being an expectancy to win the game. Newcastle are likely to have marked that game down as a potential three pointer, especially given our strength away from home last season against teams in the bottom half of the table. The same could be said of Villa at home – a game where we were expecting three but in the end were happy to settle with one.

It’s safe to say that on the whole this season Newcastle have not hit the heights of the last campaign, and hence there is a feeling that there is more to come. Papiss Cisse in particular has not reached the explosive level we were subjected to last year. Perhaps it would be asking for a little too much to expect a repeat of his mind blowing half season following arrival from the Bundesliga, however his talent was there to see for everybody, and we can be confident that a hot streak will arrive at some point – hopefully soon. Demba Ba has started the season well and Hatem Ben Arfa has shown flashes of brilliance, but again there is a feeling that there is a lot more to come from these two – add Yohan Cabaye to the mix and there is a definite case for optimism.

November looks to be a big month for the Magpies. The loss of Captain Colo for three games and Cheick Tiote for the next one are a blow, but there seems to be sufficient cover in the squad to negotiate the next few, with Steven Taylor back to full fitness and Vurnon Anita putting in a couple of decent shifts against Liverpool and Brugge respectively. Home fixtures against West Ham, Swansea and Wigan and visits to Southampton and Stoke make up the next five in the league, with an important game against Maritimo sandwiched somewhere in between.

Each of these games should not be underestimated, both in terms of the opposition and their importance in shaping our season. Positive results at this stage would really see us climb the league table significantly, and see us into the last 32 of the Europa league. We’re currently three points off Everton in fourth, a win on Sunday would see us leapfrog West Ham and with Fulham travelling to the Emirates on Saturday, a win would guarantee a place in the top eight with Swansea at St James’ Park to follow.

A place in the top eight at this stage of the season bears little significance to the final standings, however looking at the table as it stands only six points separate Liverpool in 12th from Everton in 4th. By the time we face Manchester City on December 15th the spread in points in the middle section of the Premier League is likely to have drifted somewhat.

We need to ensure that we are somewhere near the top of that spread.

29 thoughts on “Getting there…

  1. Good read MTG ,I don’t feel there is any immediate need for panic as we’ve been beset by injuries and suspensions so far.Despite all that and with some poor performances we’ve still been picking up points which some would say are the sign of a good team 😉 . If you look at both West Brom and Everton they seem to of had the flying start we had last season ,I also think Fulham look good this season. Whilst our opponents today have had a brilliant start ,I don’t expect to see them in the top half of the table at the end of the season.As you have stated only a few points separates 12th from 6th at present and it’s very much early doors ,let’s take another look on Jan the 1st ,I suspect it will be a very different looking table by then.November is I agree a big month for us and I was optomistic until the Suspension and injury curse hit us again ,hopefully it won’t ruin what could be a good little run for us.

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  2. A good read MTG, I agree that this month is a big month and could possibly go a long way towards shaping our season.
    Re Reading, I think any fan who “expects” us to win an away game is being slightly deluded tbh, we are just simply not good enough, nor have we been for quite a few years to “expect” to win away games in the Premier league. We can all “hope” to win an way game, I said the other week, any draw against a team in the top half of the table is a great point and v a bottom half team it’s a good point, owt more than that is a bonus imo.

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  3. [email protected] 😉 😀

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  4. Everton and west brom have gone off like a train but they havent had fixtures as hard as us, european matches to juggle and ridiculous injury and suspension problems like we have this season. We are in a nice position within a win or two of the european spots with some of our most tricky fixtures behind us. Im fully expecting us to rocket up the table pre crimbo… 😎

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  5. [email protected] ,All true ,but didn’t they say that about us last season and look where we finished 😉 .To be fair who they play doesn’t matter just like it didn’t with us as what’s more vital is the confidence winning brings. By the time they play the big guns they will be pumped up from their lofty table positions and with 20 points each already on the board you could argue they are almost half way to safety already if say 42 /45 ensures survival.

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  6. They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
    Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
    They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
    They fell with their faces to the foe.
    They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
    We will remember them.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7ZbAdP7v5Q

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  7. kim

    Aye valid point but i just cant see west brom with bang average defenders like Billy Jones, Ridgewell and mcauley in their first choice back 4 finishing above us, Spuds and Arsenal maybe even Fulham. Everton possibly as their first 11 can beat anyone like us last season but they will need some serious luck with injuries… 😉

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  8. Ritchie – sorry mate, got way laid.
    Out in Newcastle and to be fair I didn’t see him in a bar, he was walking past The Gate in the city centre. The Gate is a complex with bars, restaurants and a cinema so he may not have been on the drink but he was with a tidy looking lass like.
    Not sure it’s the kind of preparation big Sam would have suggested either, especially as he was getting quite a bit of stick when I saw him 😆

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  9. Sharpy…Cheers, what abuse did you give him then? 😆 …..oh and I’m not so old that I haven’t visited The Gate on occasion, cheeky young whippersnapper 😉 😆

    Ice 😉

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  10. Ritchie 😳 I wasn’t sure where you were in the world so thought just saying the gate may have been wasted on ya mate.
    I know you’d visit the gate though mate – where else would you wear those hot pants 😆

    Unfortunately I saw him too late and was too far away to give abuse.

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  11. Sharpy…In Spain but just for the last year and a half or so 😉 I’d have ran after AC to hurl some abuse…when I say “ran”, I mean walk briskly 😆

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  12. Richie-why bother walking? Couldn’t you just use your mobility scooter? Dave tells me they’re all the rage these days 😉

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  13. richie walk briskly the only time you walk briskly when someone shouts “grub up”and then your never more than 3 paces aways 😀

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  14. Newkie…Ice is the man for mobility scooters 😉

    Ice…I don’t even give them a chance to get to say the “up” part of that 😉 :mrgreen:

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  15. Richie-Ice doesn’t need a scooter, trust me. I saw him walking in the vet group for the Crimean War earlier on 😀 😀

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  16. Richie @15
    And when you say hurl abuse you actually mean ask for autograph 😆
    Reckon we can get the three today but have a feeling that Carroll will score, here’s hoping Krul can have a better game than he did on Thursday.

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  17. there are some shit-houses on hear me-thinks,could still beat most of yous over 100yds i know that all you would see is my ponytail if you could see “round”richie that is 😆 😆

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  18. Andy… 😆 defo not his autograph, aint asked for one of those since the 80’s(don’t mean Ice’s latest birthday parties 😆 )

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  19. [email protected] , Yeh I said earlier I don’t think West Ham will stay up in the top half ,I do think The Toffees and possibly the Baggies may .

    Just heard Nolan talking on 5live about the Toon. He says Geordies are lovely warm and kind hearted people. Wonder if he’ll still be saying that after the match. 😉

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