The first day of the Premier League always throws up a few surprises. Last season, Bolton beat QPR 4-0 to go top of the table (only to end the season relegated). Similarly, this time round we’ve had both Swansea and Fulham hand out 5-0 spankings on the opening day.

Watching the flurry of goals go in made me wonder when the last time was that Newcastle gave someone a right good thumping in the league. For the answer, you have to go back to when Chris Hughton was in charge. It’s true, Pardiola has a 4-1 rout of Wolves from two seasons back and the famous 4-4 against Arsenal to his name, but that’s about it, reflecting a more cautious, defensively-solid approach from the lads under his stewardship.

The best result last season in terms of goal difference was the 3-0 defeat of Manchester United. Going back to season 2010/2011, however, we get Leon Best’s finest moment in black-and-white, namely his hat-trick in the 5-0 defeat of West Ham, and we have the magnificent humiliation of the mackems in the 5-1 victory at St James’s Park.

(***Despite very few tickets left for Villa at the ticket office by going to VIAGOGO you can still buy some of the best tickets in the house if you’re quick)

For me, however, the best of our recent big wins has to be the 6-0 walloping of Aston Vile in our first home fixture of that season, our first home game after our return to the top flight. I was on the west coast of America at the time, visiting family, and we had an eight hour time difference and no cable TV, so I had no idea what had happened. I was at an air show with the kids when I remembered to turn my phone on to get text alerts. It took a while to initialise but when it did, it didn’t stop bleeping. I counted the first – that’d be the team sheet – plus two more for half and full time; anything else would be goals. Blee-bleep, blee-bleep, blee-bleep, blee-bleep. I got eleven messages, one after the other, and wondered what the hell had happened. Was it a 4-4? It’s safe to say that I hadn’t expected a six-nil win against the hated Villans, plus the bonus of a penalty kicked out of the ground by John Carew.

Lest we forget, quite a few Villa ‘fans’ took a perverse delight in our getting relegated at their ground, even going so far as to bringing ready-made bed sheet banners taking the mick. For that, we owe them, and – football being football – it’s a matter of time before we hit our stride and hand out another hiding.

With ex-mackem Bent, who was present for the 5-1 beating, making a return, I’d say this Sunday would be a good time to start.

(***Despite very few tickets left for Villa at the ticket office thanks to VIAGOGO you can still buy some of the best tickets in the house if you’re quick. VIAGOGO allow season ticket holders to put up tickets for sale that they cannot use and other fans can then buy them, click here for more details. Similarly if you’ve just found out you can’t use your season ticket on Sunday, go to VIAGOGO and get it sold! Remember you can also plan well ahead for future home matches whether you need to sell your season ticket for an individual match, or buy some of the best tickets in the ground)