Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Written by Colin Hill, a sports blogger
Sunday's defeat at home to Stoke City was understandably met with disappointment from the Toon Army as Newcastle slumped to their second successive home defeat after losing 1-0 to Blackpool earlier in the month. Most disappointing of all was the manner of the defeat as not only did Newcastle throw away the lead but Stoke managed to win 2-1 despite only managing one effort on target, as a result of James Perch's unfortunate own goal.
All things considered, it was three points dropped and a sore one to take for all those wearing Newcastle soccer jerseys, but the fact that had they held on for victory, they would be sitting 5th in the Barclays Premier League table after 7 games, ahead of the likes of Aston Villa, Tottenham and Liverpool, suggests that it should be not all doom and gloom at St James Park.
Such are the expectation levels at Newcastle, where fans remember the times of Kevin Keegan and the stars such as Faustino Asprilla, David Ginola, Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer, that the normal target for newly promoted clubs of "avoid relegation" is not applicable. In truth, staying in the fiercly competitive Premier League would be an achievement for a club whose financial constraints mean they have not significantly added to the squad over the past two seasons.
My feeling is that Newcastle should comfortably finish mid-table this season and will not be dragged into a relegation dogfight. Despite the inevitable setbacks which hamper even much more established Premiership clubs (take Spurs home defeat to Wigan for example), it has been a good start to the season for the Toon Army with far more positives than negatives.
From the resurgence of Joey Barton to the form of Andy Carroll to the six goal mauling of Aston Villa to the sweet strike from the left football boot of new-boy Hatem Ben Arfa, already Newcastle have served their fans up a rollercoaster of emotion and given us some memorable moments for the 2010-11 Premier League season.
There is of course a bit of trial and error to be done as manager Chris Hughton learns about his players as they come up against better quality teams than they did in their march towards the Championship title last seasons. Over the course of the season, systems will change, players will adapt to the increased pace and intensity of the Premiership and hopefully games such as Stoke will be closed out in a way that sends the fans home happy.
It's easy as a football fan to focus on the negatives - but there are definitely more positives at St James Park at the moment.
Written by Colin Hill, a sports blogger who write about kids football kits.
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