Many expect Newcastle to romp to the Championship title this season, I even heard some people saying they could go all season unbeaten! Just turn up and the three points are guaranteed.
However, the Championship has different ideas as Newcastle found out on Friday night at a determined Fulham side at Craven Cottage.
A Matt Smith header was enough to quickly dash any hopes of an easy return to the top flight for Newcastle as Fulham held on to get their campaign off to a winning start (despite numerous penalty appeals from the Magpies).
It is not all doom and gloom as Newcastle still remain favourites for promotion according to the Newcastle United betting odds and rightly so.
Hanging on to Moussa Sissoko can be viewed as either a great coup or nothing more than another ego to manage. But there is no denying that on his day he is deadly (as seen at this year’s European Championships), unfortunately his day does not appear to come around too often.
Head Coach Rafael Benitez will still be in a confident mood as Newcastle get their home campaign under way on Saturday against Huddersfield Town . A packed St James Park will be expecting three points and with fifty thousand Geordie fans roaring on their side, it will be an intimidating experience for the Yorkshire outfit.
Newcastle Captain Jamaal Lascelles had a bit of a rough ride against Fulham and was largely at fault for allowing the towering Smith to head the ball in the back of the net, but Benitez has backed his skipper from day one: –
“Jamaal Lascelles is in a good position because what I have seen from him, I’m pleased with – he has the character and the right mentality. Still he’s a young player, so I think the other players are ready to help if necessary”.
“I think there are two or three players that maybe can be there and can help.”
Nerves can always play a part and now the first match is out of the way expect to Newcastle to start firing on all cylinders.
After facing the Terrier’s they have Jaap stam’s Reading as visitors to St James Park in a mid-week fixture before an away trip to Bristol City on the Saturday. Nine points can be seen as a realistic target after their baptism into the Championship is now over.
There is no respite in this division, 46 games come at you hard and fast and already Friday’s defeat is a long forgotten memory.
The season starts again on Saturday.
45 games to go.