Early signs suggest Newcastle United will be right up there this season
Even the most optimistic Newcastle United fans couldn’t have hoped for such a strong start to the season. Up against tricky opposition in the form of Aston Villa, any kind of victory for Eddie Howe’s side would have been seen as a major positive. But 5-1? Few could have seen it coming.
Aston Villa’s fine form in the second half of last season made this a difficult opening fixture on paper, but Newcastle came storming out of the blocks. Sandro Tonali got on the end of Anthony Gordon’s cross to mark his Premier League debut in fine style, sending St. James’ Park into raptures.
Such was Newcastle’s blistering start, not even Moussa Diaby’s equaliser for Villa could dampen their spirits. Soon after, Sven Botman squared the ball for Alexander Isak to put the home team back in front. Cue the celebrations once again.
Further goals duly followed in the second half through Isak, Callum Wilson, and new arrival Harvey Barnes, making it a fine afternoon’s work for Howe and co. You could hardly blame football fans for considering Newcastle’s chances in the Premier League winner odds.
“We’re very pleased. It was a tough game,” the Magpies boss reflected. “Aston Villa are a very good team. We knew we had to be at our best. We scored five, we could have scored more but they were also in the game. It was a tight game decided by our ruthlessness in front of goal. Everything clicked for us today.”
Not many expected Newcastle to reach the heights they did last season, qualifying for the Champions League and playing some fine football along the way. Given their achievements last season, it was hard to know what to expect this time around. Would there be a dip in their trajectory, or is this team ready to scale new heights yet again?
The early signs suggest that Newcastle will be challenging towards the top of the table again this season. It’s clear that Howe is fulfilling his potential as a top-class coach, and the motivation among the squad appears to be higher than ever.
There was a fluency to their performance against Aston Villa that bodes well for the upcoming matches. A difficult opening run of fixtures will be a major test for Howe and his troops, but it could be a blessing in disguise as it will give an indication of where Newcastle are excelling and where there is still room for improvement.
The controversy over the club’s ownership will continue to rumble on, but most Newcastle fans will be willing to accept the scrutiny if it brings success on the pitch, which so far has been the case.
Perhaps the next step is to win a trophy, and Howe will be eyeing the domestic cups this season as a great chance to end the years of hurt at St. James’ Park. They came so close last season, losing the Carabao Cup final to Manchester United, but there’s every suggestion that there will be plenty more good times to be had on Tyneside in the coming months and years.