The second half of last season was the worst Newcastle have ever fared in the Premier League, and in the final 19 games we gained only 13 points under John Carver, and three of those came in the very last game when we were in danger of being relegated.
The previous 10 games had yielded only one point, and we lost eight games in a row in that spell for the first time ever in the Premier League.
In the first 19 games under Alan Pardew we had twice those points – 26 – and were in a comfortable 9th place when Carver took over.
Debut home league game for Steve McClaren
Carver was in way over his head, and when you think back to what happened earlier this year, it would be great if we can start the new season with a win.
But Southampton are a very good side, and they qualified for the Europa League this season.
They finished in 7th place with 60 points, and that’s 21 points more than we had last season.
The Saints play at Vitesse Arnhem tonight, after winning the first leg of the 3rd round qualifying 3-0 at St. Mary’s last Thursday.
So that could give Newcastle an edge in the game, but the Saints will provide a very good test of this Newcastle team under new head coach Steve McClaren.