Jamie Carragher recently predicted his Premier League top four and Newcastle United were nowhere to be seen, but after the 5-1 at the weekend, has he changed his mind?

Many football pundits have practically written off Newcastle‘s top four chances this season. The thinking seems to be that the extra games and hectic two games a week schedule will be too much for them to maintain a steady assault on the league.

However, those predictions were all made before the season started and Newcastle have since come out of the gates very strongly by comprehensively beating an Aston Villa side which has been tipped for big things this season.

Carragher has admitted he loves watching Newcastle play

With that in mind, Jamie Carragher was asked in a Q&A video on Sky Sports YouTube if he still believes Eddie Howe‘s side will finish outside of the top four.

“You know what,” said Carragher. “Watching them in that first game it was just like Newcastle last season and the only thing is they’ve now got Europe, will that affect them playing maybe six, eight, 10 games midweek that they didn’t have?

Newcastle United v Aston Villa - Premier League
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“I mean they’re just brilliant every time I watch them. I do love them. Love watching them play and there’s something in the back of your mind that’s saying ‘they’ll drop off’. But on the evidence of that first game, to beat Aston Villa, a team who everybody’s talking about to be in the top six 5-1, unbelievably impressive.

“I still think they’ve got a great chance. I think Newcastle, Liverpool, Chelsea will all be fighting for that last fourth position maybe along with Manchester United. I do think Arsenal and [Manchester] City are slightly above the rest but I think Newcastle are right in the mix and have a chance of the top four, but I hope it’s Liverpool for obvious reasons.”

It wasn’t a full back-track by the former Liverpool man, but he’s certainly not ruling Newcastle out of the race for the Champions League again this season.

Chelsea could usurp Newcastle from the top four this season

Newcastle’s European adventure could be a big distraction and I understand where pundits are coming from in that regard, but we have recruited well to mitigate that fatigue and now have fantastic squad depth which should be enough to see it maintain a high standard.

Manchester City FC v Real Madrid: Semi-Final First Leg - UEFA Champions League
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The biggest issue, for me, is that Chelsea don’t have a European distraction and can focus all their energy on the Premier League. If Mauricio Pochettino starts to get a tune out of that side then they could potentially displace us from the top-four.

Fortunately, there will be five Champions League places up for grabs.

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