Do Newcastle deserve their top three position?

Third on merit
There is a sense of bewilderment sweeping around the country at the moment as fans, players and pundits from around the country stared, open mouthed, at the Premier League table on Monday night.

There is something about seeing Newcastle United occupy third position that leaves a bad taste the mouths of those who think they should be there instead.

The game at the Britannia Stadium against Stoke City was once again billed as their ‘biggest test of the season so far’ just like the meeting with Tottenham was two weeks prior. There is a sense in the press and from opposition fans that the Magpies don’t deserve to be holding such a lofty position in the top flight. After all they sold their best striker, Captain and, according to some, the best left back in the league for big money and replaced them with cheap alternatives. A manager that was disliked by the fans and an owner who’s blood the fans thirsted after.

Written off over the summer as dead certs for relegation and yet another implosion was prophesied with the club supposedly on the verge of breaking point. However the polar opposite has happened and once again the black and white flag is flying high. They came through the acid test against the Potters, who were unbeaten at home conceding one goal in process, with flying colours. Demba Ba plundered his second hat trick of the season in what was as comfortable a win as you would like against a side who are famed for their physical philosophies.

Still, the acceptance of Newcastle holding their own in the top three was played down on the fact that they ‘haven’t played anyone yet’.

So far Alan Pardew’s men have played and took points off five of last seasons top 10 not to mention beating FA Cup finalists Stoke on the way to a 13 match unbeaten run stretching back to the previous season. They’re one of only a handful of teams still unbeaten in Europe alongside the likes of BarΓ§elona, Benfica, FC Porto, Juventus and Manchester City. Surely that gives them a lick of credibility?

I’ll admit that I was worried about the season ahead after a tumultuous summer that was almost torn apart by Joey Barton who seemed intent on causing mischief from his keyboard. The sales of Andy Carroll, Kevin Nolan and Jose Enrique added to the hysteria that was gripping Tyneside as fans once again turned on Mike Ashley and manager Alan Pardew. Three months later and large portions of humble pie are being tucked into at an alarming rate.

The notion that Pardew and his players don’t deserve to be in the position they are in currently is insulting. The togetherness of the squad at this present moment seems stronger than it’s ever been especially after the ego’s that once inhabited the dressing room were removed. Pardew has surprised many with the way he has conducted himself since taking the job in December despite the Geordie faithful generally opposing to his appointment.

Almost a year later they are singing his name proudly from all four corners of St James’. Alongside chief scout Graham Carr he has worked extensively at scouting players and making sure they are the right fit for his Newcastle United and so far they have all paid off.

Perhaps his biggest achievement so far is doing what no manager in the past 20 years has been able to do in tightening a notoriously leaky defence up. Newcastle boast the meanest back line in England conceding just seven goals in their 10 league games thus far which has given them a solid base to work from. He’s got the rest of the starting eleven focused and determined to not give the opposition an inch on the field.

The win over Stoke was testament to Pardew’s tactical nous and the players willingness to do what is necessary to achieve victory as they attacked and defended as one unit. The work ethic that has been instilled within the squad is a breath of fresh air and they displayed it to full effect as they hustled, harried and frustrated the home side with Jonas Guttierez putting in another lung bursting shift down the left. In attack they were incisive with Ba continuing is impressive scoring record with a hat trick whilst Leon Best once again ran himself into the ground. Even without midfield enforcer Cheik Tiote in midfield they looked solid with Pardew putting his famed man management skills to work on Danny Guthrie who put in a gritty display despite fans labelling him the weak link in the side.

To cut a long story short Newcastle deserve to be where they are because they are going out onto the field, putting in performances and winning games. It’s no fluke and it’s certainly not because they haven’t played any of the supposed big teams yet.

The squad mentality has improved 200% and it shows in the way they play with a steely determination mixed in defence mixed with a confident swagger in attack. Newcastle are winning games because they are playing good football and going into every game knowing they can come away with a positive result.

With Everton, both Manchester clubs and Chelsea on the horizon they will be put to the test but there is no reason to believe that they can’t come out of them with yet more credit.

Thanks to Jak Penny for sending this in. A fantastic read I’ll add. You can follow Jak on Twitter @kajynnep and see his work on other notable sites around the web.

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

132 thoughts on “Do Newcastle deserve their top three position?

  1. Quality writing. Though, and it’s not exclusive to this article/blog; is anyone else getting sick of seeing Barton, Nolan, Carroll and Enrique’s names getting mentioned with everything to do with us? They probably were our best players, but we’ve replaced them with better. So time to put the old guard to bed and focus on the present.

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  2. Know what you mean SRH, they seen obsessed to talk about the team that was so ‘brilliant’ to keep us up last season (agree), but on the other hand giving little credit to the team that seems so much better this season. Love proving the experts wrong every week!, long may it continue πŸ˜€

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  3. Hmm not sure we’ve replaced Enrique. I’d take him back (pre sulking from) without a second thought.

    IMO full backs that could pass/attack as well as defend would take us to an extra level and help our forward movements no end. For all their effort, Raylor and Simmo do not exactly shine with the ball at their feet in open play, the latter particularly frustrating in that respect.

    Santon hopefully will give us this extra dimension, still having Enrique would be even better.

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  4. @1
    Good point about the old guard. Sick of sound of them and the new lads always in their shaddow . It isn’t fair to the talent we now possess .Theyv’e gone and good riddance. if they wernt making trouble, they were whinging. All hail the new Toon Army.

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  5. when gary neville gives a team credit you know its well deserved agree with other posters the players of the past have gone let the lads playing now take centre stage as they deserve it

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  6. Good read and was good to see that you got the bit in about taking points of 5 of last seasons top 10, because all the pundits seem to forget that and give us the **** about beating the teams below us.
    Which is pretty obvious considering we are 3rd πŸ˜†
    But we can change that stat very soon when we play the 2 above us and take pts from them πŸ˜‰
    Yes we are where we deserve to be

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  7. Excellent Article Thad,

    We certainly do but I’m not used to this constant attention and lofty position. but at least we’re safe… πŸ˜€

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  8. Great read. Like the bit about last seasons top ten
    Not tested? Pfft

    We’rethird on merit because we have taken the third best points total. We’ve played over half the teams once over already so there is a fair sample to base it on aswell.

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  9. Excellent article Thad.

    It’s obvious though irritating that the media grabs onto the Barton, Nolan, Carroll and Enrique issues at the toon, unavoidable really. We’ve just got to accept it. However, this will pass with time, then the press will have nowt else to pick up on apart from the fact that we’re puting together a pretty good football team.
    The less scandal coming from the club the better, we just need to be sure that MA doesn’t shoot himself in the foot any time soon. πŸ™„ πŸ™„

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  10. Really great article, i think we do deserve it. We have played well and we have won the points when needed too. To be in a position like this you have to win points and play well, we are constantly doing that and long may it continue!

    Still struggling for stats about teams and what they do in games, anyone know any other sites? Got soccerbase and the other one.

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  11. You deserve only what you’ve earned. So, NUFC clearly deserve to be where they are in the table. Each member of the team has worked hard to earn their spot on the pitch and in return have fought well to earn Newcastle 3rd place in the league.
    Right now, this team is just fun to watch. Can’t wait, the game against Everton is going to be on the TV again, and will be another one I get to watch vs. catching up on later.
    Out of curiosity, is a team’s TV appearances related to their league position from the previous season? How is that chosen? How does SKY choose who to broadcast or not?

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  12. Just shows Pundits know nowt in reality
    the Mackem maggots at BBC Newcastle are deluded

    Just let them keep winning and drawing
    Lets just enjoy it

    Pardew for England manager ? =
    more gonadic punditry

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  13. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on saying it. Goals win games, clean sheets win championships.

    The fact that we have the meanest defence in the league is the reason we are 3rd. The reason we have the meanest defence is due to the coaching of the whole team in how to defend. Wingers lead into blind alleys, creative midfielders pressurised int mistakes, Giving Krul space in set pieces. even how to use a towel ffs. Wonderful stuff. George Graham eat your heart out this is Don Howe / Gerry Francis territory..

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  14. Can’t wait til we are in second place come 2.30pm on Saturday . πŸ˜›

    That will really get the football fans round the country talking. 😯

    If anyone has been listening to the Legends, Micky Horsewell is biting more than Tinpoops does with me. πŸ˜›

    He is devastated we are doing so well. πŸ˜›

    Does anyone know how many extra season tickets were sold with the cut price deal?

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  15. micky quinn was reckoning on Lpool winning the premiership at the start of the season. they may scrape 7th

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  16. 4k tickets sold. Bloody great that like.

    Just reading the Ronnie Gill tonight (evening chronicle for those abroad) and Pards has only lost 7 games in 31 in charge. That’s somes bloody record like.

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  17. we need to remember several things
    1. The ‘media’ (and you know which media) predicted us to fail: they are now doing their utmost to try and ensure that their predictions come true. Otherwise they will appear (as they are) totally useless.
    2. The media (same as above) rated AC/JE and engineered their moves to a bigger club (laugh as appropriate) : therefore they need to point out at every opportunity that we should not be doing well because we lost our best players
    3. there is no way that southern press will allow us to be seen as being in the ‘top’ clubs; simply because the newcastle owner (MA/DL) do NOT talk to the press. thus the media have lost access to stories (unlike when freddie shepherd was here) and they hate this. Constrast this scenario to say Spurs, whereby rednapp is ALWAYS talking to press, and Levy has daily press articles

    I actually endorse MA/DL not talking to the press, I think this was the single best decision they made

    nice article

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  18. i think we’ll do fairly well in the coming weeks. tight win on sat, maybe 1-4 points against the top sides??

    would love us to be in the top 6 come january then go for a striker, a cb and cover at LB. really like the look of junior hoillet and Joe allen from swansea. i know we dont need another cm but he looks class!

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  19. Great read there mate.

    We fully deserve our position in the table and with a few decent results from the next four fixtures we’ll still be thereabouts at christmas!

    Howay the lads

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  20. It’s starting to feel like the Keegan and Robson era’s ! 😯

    Dare I say it? 😯 oops I’ve said it haven’t I 😳

    Coooooooome on! Toon ! Toon!

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  21. @thud

    You’re still looking smug in your avatar. They probably thought anyone looking that smug had done something remarkable. πŸ˜›

    Woo hoo hoo hoo πŸ˜†

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  22. πŸ™„ πŸ™„ πŸ™„

    I dont know what im liking more the new Newcastle or the new Troy πŸ˜€

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  23. @n.Irish

    Ive always been the same and I react to how the Toon are performing.

    No one is perfect. We all get things wrong. Everyone.
    It just so happens I don’t very often. πŸ˜›

    But, I can definitely see changes in the regime and I believe they have been influenced heavily by Pardew.

    We have certainly exceeded all expectations so far and I’m sure the regime will be as surprised as me or anyone else.

    Let’s get behind them and live the dream. πŸ˜›

    I’m still loving Thuds smug fierce leek! πŸ˜›

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  24. Help please.

    I’ve just bought a touring caravan and put decking around the outside which folds up by means of pulleys, so it doesn’t stick out very far whilst on the motorway. Also I’ve built a roof terrace but that doesn’t fold down.

    Does anyone know if this is legal for motorway driving? I would hate to break the law particularly when mrs stavers is cooking the brekkie whilst on route. I know that’s ok but she would be fooorious if the decking was illegal.

    Anyone know what the law is?

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  25. @prem

    I rarely go in the fast lanes cos the kids are usually in their beds and the air turbulence normally wakes them once you reach a tonne! 😯

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  26. @N.Irish

    Do you ever drink in the Irish club at the corner of stowell street before the match or do you not get over?

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  27. TROY,this may sound daft but dont ask the cops,they havent got a bloody clue,once done me court summons everything,until i checked with road traffic comm dept,ie the guys that check HGV on roads they are right up on those sort of things as i had a simular prob to yours,the cops quickly red faced dropped the charge,the gits just hope you plead guilty when you get summons,hope this helps you πŸ˜‰

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  28. The fact is we have played 6 out of last seasons top ten so it’s not bad going. We haven’t played Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea or Liverpool yet but are we the only team that has to play these teams? No! So if we get beat, the chances are other teams will get beat too.

    No drama’s, we’ll finish 7th or there abouts.

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  29. @ troy everything is legal its getting caught that it then becomes illegal……. oh and swearing and ferdinand thats DEFINATLY ILLEGAL DONT DO IT πŸ˜› :mrgreen:

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  30. all i can say is nothing 10 games on theres more than luck involved

    fair enough you can “sometimes” get a game but not the run we have been on

    sick of ppl saying the big teams this and that….. u play to beat the lesser teams and the big teams a point is good anything else is better

    lets enjoy the ride and not worry for a change

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  31. As someone who enjoys stats, Toonsy, you will know that there’s lies, lies and statistics. But the stats on this one say we’re third for the very simple reason that we’ve earned that position with full justification. In various ways, NUFC is becoming the new model for the Premiership standard.

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  32. Mario Gomez has to be the best striker about right now. He just hasn’t stopped scoring for the last 18-24months.

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  33. COURSE WE FECKING DO!

    Ahem. Anyway. Pardew has done brilliantly, this season especially and really does seem to be getting the best out of his players. I think we’re in luck in that we have a large number of natural workers-Jonas and Tiote are obviously the stand outs who cover every blade of grass when they’re on. On top of that we have an always enthusiastic Staylor, and players such as Raylor and Bestie who know they’d struggle to get into other prem sides (currently) and so are working their socks off for us. Luckily Ba, Cabaye and Obertan all seem to have bought into Pardew’s philosophy as well which is amazing really.

    I wonder whether our old crew weren’t as motivational as we thought? Or maybe it was the bonuses? Colo with a rousing word on the pitch? Whatever it is its working wonders and long may it continue! What would worry me though is the introduction of players who may turn out to be c*nts. We really do need to have the right personalities to play this game.. As well as that, the sale of any of our players such as Jonas, Tiote, Colo and possibly Krul will absolutely destroy us and shouldn’t go for any amount of money at present.

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  34. The Kid…they are expecting Mario Gomez to break Gerd MΓΌller’s season record at Bayern this year…40 goals in the Bundesliga…

    The bloke is deceptive, tall and a bit gangly, but he’s a scoring machine…

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  35. @icedog

    It’s nice to travel down the motorway and stop at a service station. Lower the decking, get on the roof top terrace and sup half a crate of beer and continue with your journey. πŸ˜›

    @stu

    A quick stat.

    For the past 5 seasons, the team that has had the best defence after 10 games has gone on to finish no lower than third.

    Just a stat, I don’t believe for a second we will finish third but my grandad Les Kellett always drilled into me. Reach for The Star and you will
    grab The Sun. I tried it once but nabbed Playboy! 😯

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  36. Man U arent that good .. i reckon we can beat them .. Troy, what the f uck have you been going on about all day – f uck me you are like an old woman

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  37. im gonna keep optimistic .. i was worried about the stoke game an we sailed through it, im confident about our next 4 game 8pts from the next 4 game will be a massive result πŸ™‚

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  38. @Batty

    Young Chip is a chip off the old block.

    When Grandad Les died, he left young Chip jimmy Savilles golden shorts that he wore when Grandad Les defeated him with a half Nelson.

    Young Chip is full of confidence and can’t wait to fit into the trunks .
    He’s already smoking havanna cigars and wearing massive jewellery and has long blonde hair.

    Honestly Batts there’s nothing to feel sorry about, he’s a little gem and he’s only 9. 😯

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  39. John@61…I agree. If we put in some really disciplined performances, get the refs on our side, there’s no reason why we cannot pick up a couple of draws from those upcoming games.

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  40. Ooops Schweinsteiger off injured, Napoli down to ten men…..

    Oops BadstΓΌber red card, FC Bayern down to ten men..

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  41. toon were ( possible still are ) 500/1 to fin top 4 at the start of the season ive 10e on it for the crack sure ive nothin to lose πŸ˜› an the way we are playing plenty to gain πŸ˜€

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