Newcastle have had a pretty horrific start to the season, both on and off the pitch.
After the opening four Premier League games, the Magpies are in the bottom three with just a point.
As well as struggles on the pitch, there has been reported turmoil off it, with a rumoured ‘bust up’ between key players Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie.
But despite a tricky start, there are still some positives for Rafa Benitez to take. Here are five positives about Newcastle’s start to the season:
1. Martin Dubravka
The Slovakian stopper was sensational when he arrived on loan in January, and his move was made permanent this summer for just £4million, which is an absolute bargain.
Some fans might have been worried that Martin Dubravka wouldn’t be able to maintain his good form, but the goalkeeper has proven any doubters wrong.
Dubravka is continuing to perform miracles in goal for Newcastle, and his performance would have won them something against Manchester City had it not been for a Kyle Walker screamer.
2. Newcastle are still strong defensively
Although it wasn’t clear against Tottenham on the opening day, Newcastle still have the solid defensive spine that served them well last season.
Against both Chelsea and Manchester City, Newcastle set out defensively to try and steal a point, and limited two very attacking teams with world class talent to minimal chances.
Even away to Cardiff, the Magpies were solid at the back, picking up their one and only clean sheet so far this season, in a game they should have lost.
Benitez’s team will need to be hard to beat like last season, and that’s exactly what they are again.
3. Goal difference
Despite losing to three of the Premier League’s best, Newcastle only have a goal difference of minus three.
In comparison, Huddersfield Town have minus eight after heavy defeats to Chelsea and Man City.
4. Salomon Rondon
The forward arrived on loan from West Brom this summer, with Dwight Gayle going the other way. And so far, it’s a deal that is benefiting both clubs.
Gayle is getting amongst the goals at the Hawthorns, while Salomon Rondon is proving he can be the focal point Benitez wants.
While he is yet to score in the Premier League, Rondon hasn’t had too many chances. The Venezuelan has performed well in a defensive forward role and will do even better when Newcastle aren’t playing title contenders.
5. Three big clubs out the way already
It can’t get any harder, can it?
Newcastle have played and lost to three of the Premier League’s elite, but those games won’t define the Magpies’ season.
They’ll have to beat the teams around them, and they will get the chance to do so once imminent fixtures with Arsenal and Manchester United are out of the way.