Today isn’t a ‘must not lose’ game for Newcastle United but…
It’s a slippery slope, with failure to get early points on the board in the Premier League often creating an environment that gets ever harder to pick up those elusive wins.
This has often been the case for Newcastle United in the Premier League (an early struggle sets in motion one that is a season-long), whilst for promoted clubs in particular, the opening stages of the top tier campaign define their season.
Much was made of the possibility of momentum in May when the Championship season ended in the most perfect, and dramatic, way. The constraints placed by Mike Ashley on Rafa Benitez have put the brakes on that sadly.
Whilst some saw the opening games as full of possibility, others viewed it as fraught with danger.
No disgrace or surprise to lose to Tottenham but the next five games could well shape the season. At home to Stoke and West Ham who had poor seasons last time out, as well as away to relegation candidates Brighton, Huddersfield and Swansea.
Nine points or more from the first half a dozen games would surely have been the aim/hope, especially with any dropped points meaning relegation rivals would be picking them up.
Two wins from two for Huddersfield and suddenly they will be thinking another 10 wins from 36 and they will have pulled it off.
As Rafa Benitez said on Friday, no reason to panic yet, but momentum needs to kick start again from somewhere at St James Park.
Stellar signings are very unlikely to be the answer to that (sparking momentum) in the remainder of this month, so it is basically down to this squad of players to deliver results.
The first half against Spurs suggested a team that could prove to hard to beat…but also one that might find it hard to win.
The margins could be very small in so many matches, so even more important that Newcastle find that momentum quickly.
Huddersfield are still the favourites to go down but that will surely change if they find themselves sitting on six points on Sunday night and a share of top spot.
Rafa Benitez has also pointed to the fact that bad results early on can condemn you to a season-long struggle:
“It all depends on the first games.
“If you do well you can grow, become better and maybe aim for mid-table.
“But if you have some bad results in the beginning, you have to keep working hard to make sure the bottom three are worse than you.”
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