Have we done what is expected of us so far this season?

An expected result?
Tests! Our season has been full of them. Or not as the experts will have you believe.

We face out 12th first real test of the season when we head to Manchester City on Saturday although few can deny that a trip to the Etihad is perhaps one of the sterner tests any team will come up against.

What can we make of the stats so far though? Can they tell us anything we don’t know about our expectations and whether or not we’ve surpassed them? Do they point towards what the pundits say and confirm that we’ve not been tested? On the flipside, do they show that we are being short changed by pundits? How does the form book of our previous opponents look? Have we been lucky in the timing we’ve played them? Regular reader and occasional writer Premandup takes a look, starting with our home form.

Our home record of won four, drawn two, scored ten, and conceded five looks decent, but is there any truth in saying that we haven’t faced a real test yet? Obviously Arsenal would appear to be a test, but Arsenal’s away record this season is pretty poor. They’ve won one game away at Chelsea whilst losing to Manchester United, Tottenham and Blackburn, so perhaps a draw was OK but no surprise.

We’ve also beaten Fulham, Blackburn and Wigan who between them have only once won away from their respective home grounds. Fulham and Wigan have lost a total of nine games between them so no surprise there. And no slip ups.

Beating Everton, who have only lost to Manchester City and Chelsea away whilst beating Blackburn and Fulham is a more telling result, and the draw with Spurs was very respectable as Spurs have only lost away to Manchester United, beating Wolves, Wigan, Blackburn and Fulham on the road.

The away record of our opponents at St James’ Park is won eight, drawn eight lost 16 having scored 40 and conceded 62. So looking at our record we have done well at home, having achieved the points required and have justified a top half placing. I give our home form 9 out of 10. Point lost for not keeping a clean sheet against Fulham and not putting more goals past Wigan.

Our unbeaten away record of won three, drawn two, scored seven, and conceded three shows how formidable our defence has been. Looking at the home form of our opponents shows they have not been too hot however. Sunderland have lost to Chelsea as well as us, whilst only winning once. Wolves are little better having lost to both Spurs and QPR at home whilst managing two wins against Fulham and Wigan.

Our win at Stoke however was the icing on the cake as Stoke have only lost to us whilst beating Fulham and Liverpool whilst holding Chelsea and Manchester United to draws. The games we drew at QPR and Aston Villa were two totally different situations. QPR are draw specialists having drawn with us, Villa and Blackburn, whilst losing to both Bolton and City. They managed a win against Chelsea to their credit. Villa have only lost in their derby game with West Brom, and only drew in their derby game with Wolves whilst beating Blackburn, Wigan and Norwich.

The home records of our opponents on the road have been pretty uninspired with only Stoke and Villa having anything respectable. I am forced to conclude that we have achieved what is expected of a club in the top half of the table, and managed to avoid any banana skins en route.

Away I have to award 8 out of 10 with the the QPR game marking us down.

Overall then I think that we have achieved what a team trying to be in the top 10 should have done. We have beaten who has been put in front of us, avoided any shocks and pulled off a top class result away to Stoke. Whilst there is some support for the β€œwe haven’t been tested yet argument” I feel that what impresses me the most is fact that we have actually done well, we haven’t slipped up and we are in 3rd place with 10 points in hand over Villa in 8th place. All without being spectacular. Great stuff.

So what can we look forward to over our 1st real test, our next 3 games?

Citeh’s home form is frightening, played five, won five scored 22 conceded two. Does deeper analysis provide any hope? Well Villa and Wolves both managed a goal, and Everton only conceded two so no not really. A draw would be brilliant, a clean sheet remarkable. My prediction 2-1 Citeh.

Manchester United’s home form is nearly as good – played six, won five with their only home loss being the 6-1 against City. They’ve scored 18 goals and conceded nine. Take out the City game and the 8-2 drubbing of Arsenal and you will see that Man Utd have beaten Spurs, Chelsea, Norwich and Sunderland conceding only one goal and scoring nine en route. Again a draw would be an achievement but a clean sheet looks possible. Prediction 0-0

Finally Chelsea at St James’ Park. Although Chelsea have won away at Sunderland, Bolton and Blackburn, they have lost to Man Utd and QPR and drawn at Stoke so there is hope here. My prediction 2-1 to us.

Enjoy the ride. We’re third on merit.

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.

81 thoughts on “Have we done what is expected of us so far this season?

  1. For me Citeh and Man Utd aren’t the “tests” they’re games where we aren’t expected to get anything by most, the real tests are the games like Fulham,Blackburn,Everton and Wigan who we would have looked to beat at home but didn’t last season, this season we did, test taken and passed.
    These up and coming games aren’t tests but indicators on how far we’ve come imo.

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  2. I’d laugh my **** off if anyone on Sky or the Beeb refers to this game as our first “real test”.

    When was the last time nailed-on relegation battlers were only tested in games against the big 3?! πŸ˜†

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  3. OFcourse we are third on merit to say any different Is crazy. And i hope the pundits keep short changing us! Think I read if Lawro ( who is the worst commintator in the world ) predictions were correct we would have 5 points this season! I do think we are punching aboe our weight a little and it would take a massive massive effort ( and a luck ) to finish the season in top 4 , but I wont complain while we are here πŸ™‚

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  4. In other news I see we’ve (the British tax-payers) taken a Β£700m hit on the purchase and subsequent sale of Northern Rock.

    And people think it would be embarrassing to have Sports Direct on the shirts. At they make a fcuking profit!! Joke!!!

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  5. And right on cue…

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/15752874.stm

    “Alan Pardew’s side are unbeaten in their 11 league matches and lie third in the Premier League table.

    But their big test comes now as two away games in Manchester on successive Saturdays – firstly against leaders City and then United – are followed by Chelsea’s visit to the North East. ”

    πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

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  6. i dont think we will lose the next 3 games on the trot,i reckon we will turn owa chelski at sjp,and i think we can sneak a draw at manu..
    but like richie says its the other teams we need to overcome

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  7. We haven’t done what was expected of us as we were expected to be in the mackems position at the moment – so we’ve surpassed what was expected of us πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

    I believe we’ll be ok this weekend as long as we soak plain digestives in mango juice.

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  8. Toon Chicken, I note in that BBC article they refer to the St James Park pitch. Not the stadium. Clever.

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  9. Great read and you predicted 4 points out of nine i predicted 5 out of nine either way we will probally have 29-32 points after 14 games so i think that is comendable also if we could manage to draw to city draw to united and beat chelski we easy be still 3rd in the league. With nearlly half a season gone.

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  10. Hammy it’s that scored 22 conceeded 2 bit the worries me about city, only two teams have scored there and they were slaughtered. Everton played defensive and still conceeded 2. So perhaps we can be the best of the rest and only conceed 2 whilst scoring as well. Hence my prediction. However we can do better than that. hopefully a score draw.

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  11. Prem @8

    It should be referred to St James’ Park anyway when talking in the past tense.

    Unless Ashley has somehow managed to backdate the name change? πŸ˜†

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  12. True. TC.
    Just like the valid of refering to the pitch rather than the stadium. solves a lot of hysteria.

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  13. Ill take a score draw ant day a week against the meanist attack in the league so far but i dont think they will continue to punish teams they will have a bad patch hopefully this weekend lol.

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  14. Seriously peeved with this finally getting a proper test. The fans/pardew/llambias/ashley have all said the aim this year is top 10. We’ve beaten the teams around us the next three are just bonus games.

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  15. I think where we are in the table at the moment is testament to how far we’ve progressed in terms of grit, determination and good old fashioned knuckling down to do the job at hand.
    I absolutely love the fact that these ‘experts’ continue to knock us, regardless of how well we’ve done so far. They were all like, ‘I can see NUFC fighting a battle at the wrong end of the table…..etc etc etc’ at the start of the season and they’re all perched on the edge of their seats praying we fall off just so they can say ‘I said that in August’
    Dont get me wrong, Im as surprised at 3rd as most, very proud and pleased, but surprised. The signings made in the summer have been a revelation and the team as a whole have blown everyones expectations out the water.
    You could argue the season is still fairly young and a lot can happen between now and May but even if we lose the 6 games against both mancs and chelsea over the course of the season, that only amounts to 18 points! Look at how well weve done against the other clubs weve played.
    Obviously we’re not guaranteed to win or draw every game against the rest of the pack,but we should, in theory, pick up a hell of a lot more points than we drop over the next 6 months. So personally, i seriously think a top 6 place in May is ours for the taking (or losing!) and I think anyone believing otherwise cant see past their own nose.
    We’ve been accused of being deluded in the past and yes, I suppose to a degree we have been. But NOBODY can deny we have made good ground in which to believe we can achieve greatness this season.
    So yes, in short, we have done what was expected of us so far. And then some. πŸ˜‰

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  16. City might be good at attacking but to me they only conceeded 2 because everybody is sitting back and let them punish their defence aint that strong it is a weakness they have had a long time.

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  17. If we lose the next three games and everyone picks up maximum points we’ll still be 7th. On course.

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  18. I knew we would definately finish top 10 this year its how far up that top ten we go. I for one was dissapointed last year because we were better than villa,sunderland,west brom so we should have been above them. This year i think we have a much stronger side so i think 5-8 is quite possible.

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  19. As skip says even if we lost those 6 games that’s 18 points, against the teams we’ve played this season so far(QPR apart) we’ve got 24 points, we picked up 6 points in the corresponding fixtures last season so there’s the 18 points made up already πŸ˜‰

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  20. Hammy @ 18 i agree , I think most teams go there beaten already and just hope to keep the score down , I think we should go it. Fuck it!!

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  21. Well said johno toon **** it lets go for it they probally wont expect it probally expect us to do what everybody else does sit back and let them come at us from all directions, Good thing is pardew is saying we are going in every game and think we could win. No body said it was going to be easy.

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  22. hows this for a line up on saturday

    krul
    simo collo s tatlor santon

    guti tiote cabaye r taylor

    ba best

    thoughts?

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  23. We might be playing them at perfect time with them having the napoli match midweek and then cesspool on the sunday.

    Henry mancini might underestimate us seeing as weve played nee****er yet and ripe for a ****ting… πŸ™„

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  24. Hitman re: The Sun

    What do you think of this quote? “They are throwing away 119 years of history.”

    I’m not happy about the name change either, but I fail to see how changing the name will have any effect on the long and proud history of our great club. I suppose you could say it is already set in stone.

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  25. Does anybody know if nazri and augero are fit to play sat i know they both was injured on 10th and 11th of this month nazri with his knee and augero with his groin.

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  26. Never looked at it this way to be honest.

    However the teams we’ve beaten are the ones that we slipped up in last season so we’ve definitely improved in that respect.

    These next three games are bonus games in the sense that getting anything is unexpected really. I don’t think we will, but if we do lose all three I think its important to look at the picture and not get too down hearted. Would people have been happy with 25 points after 15 games at the start of the season? I know I would have been…

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  27. What we need to do against City is have an organised back 4 for the full game, this will force City to shoot from outside the box. The longer they go on without scoring the more frustrated they will get which gives us the advantage to hit them on the counter.

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  28. Also… in that bbc article Maiga is a done deal, and that’s from a French league expert, fingers crossed.

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  29. I think we should start with James Perch and instruct him to kettle Silva. See how they like it 😈

    Hitman – Reckon they are just rumours. There is only one guy on there I trust to give info, and its not him. Mind you, would be canny if the Ben Arfa one was true. I’d be e-mailing a lot of people asking for apologies after the article where I dared to suggest that Ben Arfa was in a huff about playing in the reserves πŸ˜€

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  30. Dave – 2-1 to City. Toonsy – that post you referred to is rubbish. Gosling’s real problem is he’s too slow for the Prem. Maybe a right back? Can’t believe he’s getting preferred to Abeid and Vuckic.

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  31. Toonsy you are right of course. That was the point I was trying to make in the article, badly of course, that whilst we have not produced any shock results, bar Stoke, we have done everything expected. Last year we threw away at least a dozen points from good performances. This year we are getting results from merely good performances.

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  32. Good article, Prem. Every team throws away points each season. What’s impressive is that we really haven’t thrown a single point away this far into the season.

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  33. Alright lads? I don’t know whether this is old news or not, Ryan Taylors contract is apparently up for renewal in January and I have it on very good authority that he has so far not been offered an extension and that he has been contacted by several clubs interested in securing his services, one of which may or may not be Liverpool, whom he would jump at the chance to join.

    I have never posted wild rumours before and this may also be old news to many of you, but like I say I heard this from an excellent source that I cannot divulge as it may get someone very close to me in a lot of trouble.

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  34. anybody who spits their dummy if we get beat on saturday clearly dont know their arse from their elbow, and are ‘fans’ on a purely results basis.
    Personally I really cant imagine what the score will be. A point would be outstanding but really anything but a drubbing would, to me, be acceptable.
    Am not pessemistic, just realistic

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  35. I think it fair to say that man city, man utd and Chelsea are the 3 hardest teams to beat this season, simply because of the strength of there squads.
    But to say we haven’t been tested yet is not only an insult to Newcastle but the teams we have played so far this season.
    This is the EPL, the strongest and best league in the world, where week on week any team can beat their opponent.
    To answer the title question… Have we hell!!!

    The pre-season we had and the players that left during that time, everyone (including many of the supporters) expected very little from Newcastle this season – I was one of those many!

    You don’t need stats to conclude that we have far exceeded expectation so far, to sit third and unbeaten would have been unthinkable, but stats prove our defence has been solid and we sit 4th in the stat table of teams creating scoring opportunities (impressive stats!! I think so!!)

    The next 3 games are difficult but man utd and Chelsea haven’t been convincing so far.
    There’s points there to be had, but worst case scenario – we get nowt from all 3 games, that doesn’t mean were a bad team.
    We have to keep heart and keep going as we are coz the 3 games after these are more than winnable.
    We wont win every game this season but if by the end of it we have only really dropped points to utd, city n Chelsea -I cld live with that over dropping points against Wigan, Blackburn n
    Fulham for example

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  36. A point would be outstanding but really anything but a drubbing would, to me, be acceptable.
    Am not pessemistic, just realistic
    ———————-
    How I feel about it if I’m honest. A win and I’d start dreaming about crazy things.

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  37. Aye…then sacked on his first day for jumping head first into the rum & raisin stark bollock naked!! 😯

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  38. There is no pressure on us on Saturday, I think City will stroll their way to the title and rightly so as they play some lovely football. I won’t mention the money they have spent, but their squad is amazing.

    As someone mentioned earlier, teams go there and are beaten already. I fully expect Pardew to have a game plan, and I also expect us to attack as much as we can to keep the ball away from their strike force. There is no point trying to soak up pressure from a forward line of that quality in my opinion as they WILL score.

    I’ve got a feeling this is going to be a high scoring game, I think we’ll get a few but so will City. I predict 4-3 to City, with a very ballsy and gritty NUFC performance that we can all be proud of.

    I think this will be a cracker of a game, with the Toon playing their part.

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  39. Agree with you there Paul. And toonsy, I doubt any (sane) fans will complain if we lose, unless of course we just roll over, or don’t apply the same commitment we have done in every other match this season – I can’t see this happening though.

    As Paul says, there’s no pressure on us (well I don’t believe there is). I think we’ll go at them hammer and tongs from the off, and the game for me is sure to be a cracker, with both teams scoring. I’m gona avoid the scores through the day as I expect it to be Sky’s game of the day at 8.30pm.

    This is undoubtedly our biggest ‘test’ πŸ˜‰ of the season.
    I’ll accept a defeat, be pleased with a draw, and ecstatic with a win!!!!

    TOON TOON!

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  40. Head says expect a defeat and possibly a hammering this weekend – sure that would please the pundits, heart says stick a tenner on for the win
    Will follow my heart me thinks πŸ™‚

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  41. What constitutes dummy spitting? I know I will be well peed off if we lose, especially if we get hammered. But I won’t be calling for anyone’s head. It’s just natural to moan when we lose, isn’t it?

    Interesting to see Northern Rock being sold to Virgin, obviously why they didn’t renew the sponsorship. Ashley would have been privvy to this, so took the opportunity for a new shirt/stadium sponsor.

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  42. anybody know when the idiot lawros predictions are viewable??

    have a feeling he will have us down for a draw ha ha

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  43. SteveP, Bet365 have already got my tenner πŸ˜€ – 9/1 was just far too tempting!

    Micky, indeed, I reckon he’d lose quite a bit on shirt sales if they had ‘VIRGIN’ plastered all over the front. πŸ˜†

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  44. dont know why am even wanting to have a look he has a ten percent succes rate with us and will know doubt have us to ship four or five with out response fcuk him if he has us to loose we will win

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  45. Even if we come out of the next 3 games with no points, we will still have 25 points after 14 games and most likely still in the top 6, having “had all of our tests”.

    If we get 3 or more points in these games i’m going to let the ‘delusional geordie’ in me come out and start hoping for 6th place. Hope tiote breaks de jong if he plays!

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  46. Not sure is it posed but do you all know Northern Rock is to be sold to Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Money in a deal leaving the taxpayer with losses of at least Β£400 million.

    The lender, which was nationalised in February 2008 after the first run on a UK bank for 150 years, has been sold for Β£747 million but this figure could rise to around Β£1 billion with add-ons.

    Chancellor George Osborne insisted the deal was the best available for the taxpayer and would ensure a “powerful new presence” in high street banking.

    It is second time lucky for Virgin Money, which failed in a bid to buy the Newcastle-based bank following its collapse in 2007. Sir Richard said: “Virgin has a history of entering new sectors to improve service and provide value for customers. We plan to do the same in banking.”

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  47. different news colomns are starting to refer to St James’ park as the SD arena.

    It’s starting to wind me up. πŸ‘Ώ

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  48. Nobby, I know mate, I’ve noticed it too and trying not to let it bother me, which is difficult. 😑

    …Ron, if he looks like Cabaye, Shola is Dawn French’s double.

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