If the season ended right now, Newcastle United would be Premier League champions.
The Magpies kicked off the 2023/24 campaign in emphatic fashion, beating Aston Villa 5-1 at St James’ Park. The victory means Eddie Howe’s side are top of the table after week one, with no other side boasting a goal difference as good as Newcastle’s.
Howe’s men lead the way, and Toon fans were singing ‘we’re going to win the league‘ as they partied the night away on Tyneside.
It was a special start for Newcastle, who most are predicting to not do as well as they did last season. However, some pundits have changed their mind after seeing the Magpies’ first game.
It was quite the statement of intent, with the Newcastle players doing their best to prove they will be challenging for Champions League qualification once again.
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That is certainly possible, but it is way too early to say that a title charge is on the way. But while some fans might get carried away after the win over Villa, that is not happening behind the scenes at St James’ Park.
Newcastle are not getting carried away behind the scenes
The Athletic’s Chris Waugh has spoke on the latest episode of Pod On The Tyne about the mood ‘behind the scenes’ at Newcastle following the 5-1 thrashing of Aston Villa.
“The one person who is going to remain calm is Eddie Howe,” he said.
“I know that has been the message behind the scenes already is that it’s a wonderful start but this is the first game of what is going to be a long and difficult season.
“He will manage to keep a lid on things. He has found that perfect balance where he tells supporters to keep dreaming and he wants that sort of belief. But internally for him, the focus is genuinely on Manchester City this weekend and that it’s a blank slate from what happened on Saturday.”
Perfect balance at Newcastle
Newcastle are not getting carried away with themselves, and nor should they. At the end of the day, it was just one game.
Sure, it was an emphatic win against a really strong team. But it is just three points. It is exactly what Howe would have expected from his players heading into the fixture.
Fans can dream and be excited by what they are seeing, as Newcastle take them on one hell of a ride. However, it is one that will have ups and downs. No one knows what this season is going to bring, but we have got off to the perfect start.
Next up is the champions Manchester City, and that is going to be a major test. But Howe’s side can go in full confidence and without fear, safe in the knowledge that they have already got three points on the board.
The win over Aston Villa makes the Man City game even more of a free hit, and Howe will ensure his players are perfectly prepared for the trip to the Etihad. As always, it is one game at a time.