With seven points on the board after four games, it’s fair to say Newcastle’s start to the Premier League season has been somewhat better than anticipated.
The Magpies were always capable of getting the results that have taken them to eighth place in the table, but it was a question of the off-field problems affecting the on-field performances.
Those problems seemed to be coming to an almighty crescendo when Newcastle suffered a 4-0 beating at the hands of Manchester City on the opening day of the season.
But ever since then, Newcastle’s form has improved and they now find themselves full of confidence, having turned over Aston Villa at the weekend to record their second successive victory.
Many fans were left dejected at the lack of new faces in the summer transfer window, but the one man who did join has enjoyed a flying start to life on Tyneside. Loic Remy has two assists in two games for his new side, twice setting up Hatem Ben Arfa for the first goals against Fulham and Aston Villa.
Ben Arfa himself has been a major part of Newcastle’s bright start, too. With Papiss Cisse having a sluggish start to the season, it has been the former Marseille man who has turned in two high-quality performances to earn his team six points from their last two games.
Alan Pardew has accredited his sides’ encouraging start to the fact that he can now get his best eleven players starting games every week, rather than chop and change due to injuries and suspensions.
A key part of that starting eleven is Yohan Cabaye, who almost left the club in the summer.
The French midfielder looked to have played his last game for Newcastle when he pulled out of the game against Man City after hearing that Arsenal had made a bid for him. He was then left out against West Ham before the transfer window shut and Arsenal had signed Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid, seemingly instead of Cabaye.
In an interview with Antony Marshall on Newcastle’s official website, Cabaye has apologised to fans that may be mad at him and signalled his intent to get back into the side (which he seems to have already done) and produce some of his best football.
Cabaye has been playing as one of three central midfielders in Newcastle’s system this year, with Vurnon Anita anchoring. It certainly seems to be working, with the muscle of Moussa Sissoko providing sufficient protection for the front three of Remy, Cisse and Ben Arfa to go and win games.
With the system seemingly fixed, there seems to be no reason why Newcastle cannot keep up their promising start to the season.
The off-field problems have gone away thanks to the on-field performances, and if that continues, Newcastle fans can continue to enjoy some favourable results in the coming weeks.