At the start of the season if you had asked Newcastle supporters where they predicted their team would be after ten games, few would have replied with 3rd place, one point behind champions Manchester United. Especially after a number of big players have left in the summer, including Kevin Nolan, Jose Enrique and Joey Barton. After Monday night’s away victory at Stoke City, they are still unbeaten in the Premier League with only Manchester City able to equal that statistic.
Alan Pardew’s team have made an impressive start to this season’s Premier League, with a number of well fought victories both at home and away. Their most recent victory came on Monday night where they overturned a strong Stoke City in their own backyard. The overall performance will give the supporters and the manager a lot of belief and optimism for the coming months as the work rate and effort was 100%. From the start of the game they were ensuring Stoke had no time on the ball to pick the killer pass to their target men Peter Crouch and Jonathan Walters. Even when Rory Delap had the chances to send in a number of dangerous throws into the box, the Newcastle defence were able to cope with the threat.
An area which was identified as Newcastle’s strength was the work rate from the wingers, especially Jonas Gutierrez who kept Jermaine Pennant very quiet throughout the game, making the full back’s job a great deal easier. The villain to the Stoke City fans was striker Demba Ba who nearly joined Stoke last year, but soon silenced the Britannia Stadium with two first half goals. After two soft second half penalties, one to each side, Demba Ba finally completed his second hat trick of the season, the other coming at home against struggling Blackburn.
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The recent success and form of Newcastle United is down to a collection of factors. The first being the current stability in the starting eleven with seven of the players starting every league game this season. This allows a better sense of understanding amongst the players, aiding their confidence levels. Alan Pardew had been slightly fortunate not to have picked up many injuries at the start of the season, allowing him to pick his strongest side each week. Big players such as Hatem Ben Arfa and new left back Davide Santon are unable to break into the starting eleven, meaning both competition for places and strength in depth on the bench.
The question is how long can Newcastle continue this good form and sustain their place at the top end of the table? The next few fixtures will test the team’s ability as they come up against both Manchester clubs, but realistically they are unlikely to challenge for the top four at the end of the season, meaning a point from the two games would be a good outcome.
The target for Alan Pardew’s men will be to achieve a top half finish hopefully challenging for a Europa League spot if possible. They will hope strikers Demba Ba and Leon Best can continue their successful partnership up front to get the goals needed to achieve the objective.
Written by Andrew Allcoat
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