There’s an age old adage in football, ‘judge us after 10 games’! This 10 game mark is meant to give an insight as to how a certain team will finish in the league come the end of May. Well we are now 11 games in, and are we any closer to seeing where Newcastle will finish this Premier League season?
Let’s be honest, after those first 10 games I was and probably like so many others, worried after those first fixtures. No home wins, 0-0 draws against Cardiff, Palace and Southampton, when we arguably could have taken at least 6 points from those games, albeit a start to the season that felt like we were put on the hardest difficulty on FIFA. As much as positive noises were coming from Rafa and the team about how they could turn it around, I was starting to feel pessimistic about the remaining portion of the season.
After Saturday’s first win of the season against Watford, and what a hard fought victory it was, a small sense of optimism has reared its head on Tyneside, could the season finally be dawning over the Cathedral on the hill? Do I think we will be safe, I don’t know, its only one win, there is a lot of football left to play, the possibility of Ashley actually spending money in January is always this shadow lurking in the background, but for me there is one silver lining in the dark cloud above St James’ at the moment. That is simply, is this the best backline Newcastle have ever had?
I saw a tweet on Tuesday by @PremierLeaguePanel that gives us a small amount of hope. The tweet states that the Toon have conceded 4 less than Manchester United, and the same amount as Arsenal (14). Couple this with the fact that the only keepers that have kept more clean sheets than Dubravka are Ederson (Man City), Kepa (Chelsea) and Allison (Liverpool), considering that is close to £200m worth of keeper and Dubravka cost us £4m.
The form of Fernandez has been unreal, and seemed to building a solid partnership with captain Lascelles, along with the performance of Schar on Saturday, and Lejeune still to return, the defence is looking decent, and certainly the best I’ve seen in my life time. Personally I think all we need now is decent backup for Yedlin and Dummett, and the back four will be sorted.
This impressive performance by the defenders can allow Rafa to concentrate on improving the front line, and it’s obvious that is what is needed. But I think that will come, Rondon needs a run in the team, and to remain injury free, Muto was looking impressive and lets hope he isn’t out too long. Lets hope that goal on Saturday will give Perez a much needed lift, and the improvement from Kenedy over recent games has been a joy to watch.
We get that right we will be ok come May, but lets look at the positives, and that is at the moment with this defence we have a solid foundation on which to keep building over the coming season.