Rafa Benitez and his Newcastle United players have now fallen behind the pace set by Chris Hughton’s team in 2009/10.

Eight straight Championship wins had sparked talk of setting all kinds of records, only for three defeats (in all competitions) in a week to provide a bit of a reality check that there is still plenty of work to do this season.

After 19 Championship matches, Newcastle United have won 13, drawn 1 and lost 5, giving a total of 40 points.

After 19 Championship games back in 2009, Chris Hughton’s players had won 13, drawn 3 and lost 3, for a total of 42 points.

Interesting to look back and see what happened next in that season when United ended up as second tier champions.

From 12 December 2009 to 13 February 2010, Chris Hughton’s team hit a bit of a wall, playing 10 but only winning 3, with 6 draws and 1 defeat.

However, they then really turned it on and in the final 16 games of that campaign, we saw 13 wins, 3 draws and zero defeats.

No need to panic but for anybody getting carried away and claiming the current squad/team has more quality than the Chris Hughton one, it is a fact that Rafa’s team have already lost more matches (five) in the opening 19 games than the 2009/10 team lost (four) in their entire season.

Of course, what it is all about is being better than the other 23 teams this season, not those sides of the past.

These recent days have seen consecutive league defeats for only the third time under Rafa Benitez at Newcastle (Fulham & Huddersfield at the start of the season and Norwich & Southampton in the Premier League).

Last season Rafa’s players reacted with an unbeaten six match (3 wins/3 draws) run to the end of the campaign and with five Championship wins following the defeats at the start of this one.

As always, but especially this season, the only thing that can prevent success for Newcastle United is themselves.