All football fans, whether supporting Newcastle United or whoever, would love to see their team win every match.
However, the vast majority of us do come to accept that this isn’t reality.
Although, as a kid, I always insisted before every single match, that Newcastle United would indeed win. Though it didn’t take that long before NUFC managed to knock that out of me!
Which brings me to the present day and this start to the season.
I know it is only a minority of Newcastle United fans but I do find it incredible just how over the top some people go, on the basis of just one result and / or performance.
Surely we should just leave that to Man Utd fans…
When the Newcastle United fixtures came out, you couldn’t help but notice that the first month was particularly challenging, five games in August that would really test Eddie Howe and his players, then the three in September looking to balance things up, at least on paper. These the eight PL matches before we get to the international break in mid-September:
Nottingham Forest (H), Brighton (A), Man City (H), Wolves (A), Liverpool (A), Crystal Palace (H), West Ham (A), Bournemouth (H)
Some Newcastle fans getting very uptight after drawing at Brighton and second best on the day in terms of performance, however, this to me is simply going along with how things were planned / expected from an NUFC perspective.
These were my feelings ahead of the season when looking at each of the opening eight games:
Nottingham Forest (H)
A must win match, harsh when it is only the first game of the season, but that is (was) the reality.
Haven’t won here before in the Premier League. Home and away it is always a tough game against Graham Potter, as his team try to dominate play / possession.
A point would be a great return, though obviously anything more would be massive.
Man City (H)
Hoping for a decent performance and a draw would be huge bonus.
Would be disappointed to get beat here as I see them as a team in decline. Still won’t be easy but expecting a point and a win maybe possible if Newcastle are on their game.
As per Man City…Hoping for a decent performance and a draw would be huge bonus.
Crystal Palace (H)
A side that have improved under Vieira but the kind of match Newcastle need to win. A draw not a disaster but at home, a game you have to fancy winning to help NUFC in their efforts to try and progress, to be best of the rest as the next target.
West Ham (A)
It is going to be a tough season for the Hammers, having to contend with a load of European matches on top of the tighter PL schedule due to the Qatar World Cup finals in the middle. Confident of getting a draw if competing on the day.
Like the Forest match, a must win. That is if Newcastle United have aspirations of getting further up that table.
The bottom line with these August fixtures, was that before playing Man City and Liverpool (with Wolves sandwiched between those two games), Newcastle United had to have four points (or better) if at all possible.
They have been delivered and everything very much going to plan. I hoped and expected that Newcastle would go out to try and dominate Forest and that is exactly what happened, an overwhelming win and performance.
Then at Brighton, much of the same in terms of what was expected. The home side making it a tough game, having more of the play (though Newcastle actually had more possession in the first half than Brighton) and clearly the ones who deserved to win overall. Newcastle did ok first half and had some decent situations and couple of chances but once the game kicked off after the break, it became a case of whether or not Brighton could get the breakthrough.
Yes it was a tough watch that second half and yes I would have liked Newcastle to have had some kind of substantial threat after the break but Brighton can do that to teams. Their previous five PL games included away wins at Wolves (3-0) and Man Utd (2-1), plus a 3-1 home victory over West Ham and a 4-0 one over Man Utd!
Bruno had an off day and Brighton played well the second half, no need to go over the top on this performance.
It is a case of job done and now tin hats on time as we look to take on Man City and Liverpool. I would say that with these opening five fixtures, five points would have been seen as a decent return, a draw against Wolves would give us that. Effectively five points from a possible nine and that including two away games against clubs who finished above Newcastle last season.
That is of course ignoring the Liverpool and Man City games. I think a fantastic return from the August fixtures would be eight points, most likely meaning a win at Wolves and a point off one of the two top teams. Fulham have started the season with a draw at home to Liverpool and a 0-0 at Wolves, Mitro should have won it though but failed with a penalty.
We then of course have those easier looking trio of matches in September.
Going all out for home wins against Palace and Bournemouth, possibly a point at West Ham.
If that was the reality and NUFC had picked up four points from these next three August games (Man City, Wolves, Liverpool), Newcastle United would be on 15 points from the first eight fixtures, which would be a truly fantastic return.
I think to be able to judge the state of Newcastle United, then we have to wait until at least the conclusion of these opening eight fixtures and see where we are at. By then of course, we will also have had the completion of the transfer window and know just how much attacking threat has (or hasn’t) been added to the Pope, Targett and Botman’s signings.