They may have had some odd results and performances this season, but having had a pretty strong start to the season, Newcastle's performances and results against the sides who have ambitions of the title and Champions League qualification have had a big say in their season so far.
Their own season has seen them start solidly with many pleasing performances though some will point them out as a Jekyll & Hyde team as they sit in 7th place in the table on 26 points, just the four points off Liverpool who are in 2nd position.
With the exception of their opening day defeat to Manchester City where there was a bit of disruption within the squad surrounding the future of midfielder Yohan Cabaye, and the poor first half performance against Everton, it seems that Newcastle relish the challenge of facing up to the sides who harbour ambitions of the Premier League title or Champions League football next season.
You could argue that it all started in the second half performance against Everton where they showed some spirit and pride by getting the game back to 3-2, after they had been overwhelmed by some of the power, quick passing and movement from the Toffees in the first 45 minutes.
Ever since, they got a 2-2 draw against Liverpool, and results that have followed makes leaving St James’ Park with a share of the spoils a decent result given their subsequent triumph over Chelsea at home, and impressive away victories against Tottenham and Manchester United.
You in those games you have to praise Alan Pardew for operating his midfielders in a way that has given Yohan Cabaye to play with the freedom he requires, and for Loic Remy to be flexible operating from either a wide position or centrally to give opposition defences a big cause for concern, whilst Tim Krul has been very impressive in goal, along the rest of the side playing with a good degree of intensity and energy.
Arsenal visit Newcastle for their last game of 2013, and given Newcastle’s trend and Arsenal’s form so far this season, you can guarantee that will be an intriguing game to watch.
image: © mikebrown59