With Liverpool drawing 2-2 with Champions Manchester City yesterday, all the top sides other then Chelsea have dropped points in their opening games of the season, and Chelsea are top having won their first three league games.
Alan Pardew at Stamford Bridge on Saturday
Arsenal have picked up only two draws, and didn’t score and didn’t concede in their first two games, but made hard work of it at Stoke yesterday, and they still find it hard to score goals – and they will not have van Persie this season either.
Swansea and Everton are joint second top to Chelsea with two wins each, and it’s a change to see Everton start the season strongly, and they have looked very good in their first two games of the season, and could be challenging for a top six place this season.
Newcastle are on 3 points and 9th top, but it’s very early in the season to judge how we will do, and Alan Pardew likes to wait until the first 10 games have been played, to assess how the lads are doing.
But the next two games are both at home and it’s important that we win these two games.
On Thursday night we play Atromitos in the second leg of the qualifying tie, to reach the group stages of the Europa League, and a win will see us through.
A 0-0 draw would also see Newcastle qualify on the away goals rule, but we’re sure Alan Pardew will want to see his side beat the Greek Super League side in front of the home fans.
And then the lads will have until Sunday before we take on Aston Villa, and we have won the fixture in the last two seasons, and a win will see us handily placed in the league with 6 points from our first two games.
And Aston Villa have lost their first two games under new manager Paul Lambert, so the pressure will be on Villa on Sunday at St. James’ Park.
It’s very possible that Newcastle can win both games but we will need to show more bite in front of goal if we are to win both games.
We even think that Ryan Taylor could be held back for the Aston Villa game and start at right back - but with three days rest he could even start both games – and Ryan looks in great form and gives us that little bit extra with his free kicks and corners.
So before the International break starts next week, Newcastle have a good chance to qualify for the Europa League groups stages, and also have 6 points from our first three league games, and if we can do that then Newcastle will be in decent shape.
There’s no need to panic because we lost on Saturday, and it seems a lot more sides will find Chelsea much tougher this season than last season - when they won the Champions League for the first time.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org