Written by Brian Hargadon
It’s funny how one game of football can change the general feeling amongst football fans about their team and hopes for the campaign.
Before Newcastle’s home fixture with Norwich on Sunday, morale was rock bottom for fans of the Toon. Relegation was at the forefront of the mind, question marks were asked about whether Steve McClaren was the right man for the job and it was difficult to flag up who were the players to lift his side.
All of the above is now distant past as 90 minutes of football, which included six Newcastle goals, has lifted everybody. Any concerns about relegation were eased. Thoughts are now of rising up the table and possibly qualifying for the Europa League where the Toon are 150-1 at the time of writing in the UEFA competitions betting to finish in one of those qualifying spots at the end of the season. Overly ambitious? I wouldn’t put it past the squad we have.
Here are five reasons to be optimistic following the win over Norwich:
The £14.5 million spent on the former PSV striker could turn out to be one of the best bits of business Newcastle have ever done. If the Toon are to rise up the table and turn their form around, they have to score plenty of goals and this man has proven he knows where the back of the net is.
Wijnaldum showcased everything against the Canaries. His opener was coolness personified. He then proved he is equally as effective with his head with his brace and hat-trick, while his fourth strike was from distance beating the helpless John Ruddy in the visitors’ goal.
McClaren still has the players
The performance on Sunday was a strong indication that Steve McClaren still has the players on his side. They were not sulking about the position they were in, instead they showed fight and were rewarded with all three points in an emphatic win. McClaren is a convincingly genuine guy – that is one of his most credible traits – and for that reason, he has earned the respect of his players. Let’s hope he can now translate this harmony into success on the pitch.
Fixtures look kind
It looks like Newcastle are over the worst when it comes to the fixtures in the opening quarter of the season. They now travel to Sunderland for the Wear-Tyne derby which is a good chance for a further three points, considering the Black Cats have not won a game all season.
After the Wear-Tyne derby, Newcastle host Stoke, travel to a struggling Bournemouth and then are back at St James’ Park to face Leicester. There is every chance they could pick up points in all three of those games which will leave them in a much rosier position in the table.
Ayoze Perez oozes class
When Perez joined Newcastle in the summer of 2014, there were rumours that Newcastle had fought off opposition from Real Madrid and Barcelona for the signature of the Spanish youngster. It is easy now to see why those clubs were interested in securing the forward. With a Midas-like touch, Perez is arguably our most technically gifted player and, if supplied with the right service, the boy could be remarkable.
Moussa Sissoko back to his best
Sissoko is one of the most important players in the Newcastle squad as generally when he fires, the Toon do well. His performance against Norwich was that of the Frenchman being back to his best, which is great news going forward. Four assists in one game is the stuff dreams are made of.
What did you make of the performance? Will we get a win on Sunday?