Eddie Howe’s men started the season with a bang against Aston Villa with a storming 5-1 win at St. James’ Park. The Magpies have since then stuttered and are yet to add to their points claimed in their opening fixture. Defeats to Manchester City, Liverpool and Brighton leave the side sat in 14th place but is it as bad as it looks for Newcastle?
The Geordies came into this season having achieved Champions League football in the previous campaign. This was considered a serious achievement as not many fans had them reaching these heights so soon under their new Saudi ownership. A mixture of this and the new blockbuster signing of Sandro Tonali left fans with a huge amount of excitement for the upcoming season.
The Toon could not have gotten off to a better start, dismantling a good Aston Villa side. St James’ Park was rocking, with two debutants scoring in Tonali and Harvey Barnes, it was perfect. Confidence was high and it needed to be when defending champions Manchester City were up next.
It was a loss that followed but suffering a 1-0 defeat to the European champions at the Etihad is at least respectable. The game that followed was arguably the biggest disappointment of the season so far.Embed from Getty Images
Newcastle vs. Liverpool has always been hugely dramatic. From Stan Collymore’s late winner in ’96 to Nick Pope getting sent off last year, this fixture does not disappoint and it certainly did not.
With a man up and a goal up inside 28 minutes, it was looking like how many for the Toon. A worrying lack of quality then followed for Newcastle and they could not take advantage. An inspired change from Jurgen Klopp sent the dynamic Darwin Nunez and the most unlikely of comebacks happened. The Uruguayan stunned St. James’ Park and grabbed a brace to steal the win.Embed from Getty Images
Highflying Brighton at the Amex Stadium was the next task. Newcastle stumbled into the international break with a 3-1 defeat at the hands of a hat-trick from young striker Evan Ferguson. Heavily outplayed by Brighton and looking short of ideas the ‘Toon army’ is beginning to worry.
Is all as bad as it seems? Whichever way you look at it, three losses in a row is never good. However, all three games have been what you would call difficult.
What can Eddie Howe do?
Despite the excitement surrounding Newcastle United’s midfield three, it has not quite worked since the opening game. Fans have been calling for Sean Longstaff to be reintroduced into the starting eleven. This may add the balance needed. A remarkable stat is that the Geordies average a 57% win ratio when he does start compared to 30% without so Eddie Howe could go for this to change their luck.Embed from Getty Images
The Toon fans should still be in good spirits. Do not forget, the Champions League still awaits and what a draw they have got. AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint Germain. Six unforgettable games. Three magical home ties at St. James Park where the noise will be deafening. The Magpies believe they can beat anyone at home and this could prove crucial in any chance of qualification.
A win at home to Brentford on the 16th and a result away at AC and their season will be back on track. The Newcastle boss has a vital international break to ensure this happens.