There are some things that have happened over the first four games that will give Newcastle fans a lot of hope for this season, and there are other things that remind us of what happened under John Carver last season, nothing of which was positive.
Steve McClaren – has to get some wins under his belt
John’s role as interim head coach was nothing other than an unmitigated disaster for the club, and maybe the only bright spot was when we actually won our last game of the season against West Ham, and that was our first win in 11 games, after losing 9 of them.
It’s difficult to get a worse record than that.
One poor aspect under John Carver was the indiscipline in the side, and that hasn’t improved too much with players being sent off in two of the first four league games.
On the positive side, Newcastle try to play good football, and seem to be very well organized under Steve McClaren, with each player knowing exactly what is expected of them.
Newcastle still find it difficult to score goals, even through we have brought in Aleksandar Mitrovic from Anderlecht as a striker, and we have a fit again Papiss Cisse.
We also signed creative midfielder Gini Wijnaldum from PSV – The Dutch Player of the Season last season – and he can score some goals.
We conceded four goals in the first two games, with our defense having been a weakness for too many seasons.
But in the last two league games at Manchester United and at home to Arsenal, the defense looked solid, and played very well and conceded only the single goal.
So there is some hope there that our defense will be better this season.
But we still don’t score enough goals, and one very poor stat we have is our total shots on or off target – with 17 being the lowest in the Premier League, so if you don’t shoot you don’t score – although we suppose we can always hope for an own goal.
Papiss Cisse will probably be our loan striker in the next two league games at West Ham and at home to newly promoted Watford.
Two wins in those games would significantly calm the nerves of Newcastle supporters.
Here are the next five games we have before we have the next International break:
September Mon 14 20:00 A West Ham United Sat 19 15:00 H Watford Wed 23 19:45 H Sheffield Wed - League Cup Sat 26 17:30 H Chelsea October Sat 03 15:00 A Manchester City
The two games we can win there are the next two – West Ham and Watford – although we have beaten Chelsea three times in a row in the home fixture (2-1 last season, 2-0 and 3-2 back in 2013).
If we can win our next two games and get through to the fourth round of League Cup by beating Sheffield Wednesday at home, we will be in decent shape.
Even if we lose against Chelsea and Manchester City, we’ll still have 8 points from the first 8 games, which is not too bad, given we will have played the four top four sides from last season.
But if we cannot get a win in those games we will be in a similar position in the table as last year, and that will not be good.
The next three games are crucial to Newcastle, and it would be good if we can win them all.
Note: A number of Newcastle fans organized by Callum Taylor are raising funds for the Refugees forced to leave war-torn countries like Syria. They will have some banners at the West Ham game.
See if you can support them at their pledge page here – thanks.