Newcastle’s triumph against all odds

Newcastle United has had a chaotic start to the season so far, with a tough set of fixtures right off the bat in the Premier League. This saw Eddie Howe’s side face Manchester City and Liverpool after a 5-1 win against Aston Villa, in which Newcastle lost both games. After three losses in a row, they were sitting 14th in the table.

They then saw a change in form, winning 1-0 against Brentford, an entertaining 8-0 win against Sheffield United – where eight different players managed to score – and a tidy 2-0 win against Burnley.

Another tough task was on the horizon for Newcastle, where they were drawn against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the EFL Cup third round. Despite being considered the underdogs in the match, the Magpies walked away with a 1-0 victory over last season’s treble winners with an Alexander Isak goal. This will see them face Manchester United in the next round, in a repeat of last year’s final. The Red Devils are facing a lot of issues at present, so Newcastle may not be the underdogs in this one.

Champions League Group F

The toughest task of them all arose when the Champions League draw took place at the end of August. For the first time since 2002/03, Newcastle is playing in the competition, and they were not welcomed back lightly. Group F consists of Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan. Many ruled the Premier League side right out of the equation, saying that they are going to get “grouped”.

So far, they are doing the complete opposite of that. At the time of writing they sit top of the table, drawing 0-0 against Stefano Pioli’s Milan away from home and a huge 4-1 win over Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain. Howe stated against Milan “There was an element of us not quite hitting our levels”, the win over Paris Saint-Germain “Gives us the belief we need to be successful. But it’s only a small step.”

Next up, Borussia Dortmund

In their next Champions League game, they face Dortmund at St. James’ Park. Playing at home is crucial to Newcastle as said by Howe. Currently, Borussia Dortmund sits bottom of the group with one point. They drew 0-0 at home to Milan, after losing 2-0 at PSG. It will be hard to judge who comes out on top in this game, with Dortmund’s form in the Bundesliga being impeccable. They are currently unbeaten, and sit fourth in a tight title race.

Newcastle will definitely go into the game with the upper hand due to the confidence the team has alongside their fans being behind them in a bid to beat the German giants. It will be another amazing watch.

Things are not slowing down

A tough run of games is coming up, from a combination of all competitions, so injuries over the international break are Newcastle’s worst nightmare, with Bruno Guimarães, Kieran Trippier, Sandro Tonali, Almirón and Isak likely to be called up. The run consists of:

  • Dortmund (H)
  • Wolves (A)
  • Manchester United (A)
  • Arsenal (H)
  • Dortmund (A)
  • Bournemouth (A)
  • Chelsea (H)
  • Paris Saint Germain (A)
  • Manchester United (H)
  • Everton (A)
  • Tottenham (A)
  • Milan (H)

It could be make or break for Newcastle, so a continuation of good form coming off the international break will be pivotal to the success throughout all competitions this season.

Eddie Howe deserves credit

Since taking over Steve Bruce in 2021, Howe has done a fantastic job of turning around the club as a whole. Newcastle was not getting a sniff of European football, last featuring in the UEFA Europa League back in 2012/13. Fast forward to the present day, they are currently sitting on top of the ‘group of death’ and are a side the fear in all competitions.

Changes to the structure of the club were a huge success, reducing the number of rest days, and pushing training an hour earlier to increase match fitness. Signings like Guimarães, Trippier, and Isak have also had a massive impact on performances and amazing recruitment.

Not to mention, the tactical setup of the side. Each and every player is disciplined when defending, and they all know their roles. Howe sets up as a 4-3-3 after being known for a classical 4-4-2.

This season is a tough test for the side to see what they are really about. so far they are passing the test. Time will see how they continue to perform as time goes on.

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