Can Newcastle United win the Premier League title? No one else is talking about it so perhaps we can kick off that debate. Yes it sounds quite a stretch to think that the Magpies can win the title this season, but does it really? As we head into November Newcastle have lost just 1 game a game as you remember which was heading for a draw against Liverpool, until they got stunned by a 98th minute winner. As the season so far has turned out we can look back on that fixture and understand that Liverpool got lucky and Newcastle were left to pick up the pieces- and they did. They have stuck 9 goals past Fulham and Brentford and the Cottagers at least have been impressive this season. They have beaten a quality defence in Everton and have kept a clean sheet away to Manchester United, a team who used to enjoy much success and lots of goals against them. A real eye opener though was when Eddie Howe's side beat Tottenham away from home- a direct top four rival and this past weekend they hammered Aston Villa 4-0.
It's interesting to look at Newcastle's side because while they do have good players they don't appear at least on paper to have absolutely world class players that can elevate them to the next level, and yet in some ways here they are at that very level. Remember at the turn of the year Howe's side were in the bottom three and of course in January the club could then spend money but the four players who came in would hardly set European football alight. Kieran Trippier, Chris Wood, Bruno Guimarares and Dan Burn were bought for a combined £90m. Guimarares and Trippier when fit have been exceptional however this season Newcastle have been driven on by Miguel Almiron, the same player that Manchester City's Jack Grealish made a swipe to at the end of last season. Clearly the former Villa player did not rate Almiron too highly but at the same time up until the beginning of this season Almiron really had been a drifter and could go invisible in games. Perhaps the difference is having Steve Bruce or Eddie Howe as a manager but Almiron is now getting into the right spaces and scoring some brilliant goals along the way, and he has seven of them already.
As it stands the Magpies are in 4th have 24 points and are seven behind league leaders Arsenal and have played a game more. But what has let down the club so far has been the number of early draws. Even now after 13 games played they have drawn the same amount of games (6) that they have won. One would have to suspect that will change in their favour. The World Cup break is in two weeks time and then we will have a few games over the Christmas period but you can see the club making some reinforcements in January. However while the owners have been criticised from coming from a part of the world that has human rights issues it is interesting how they are approaching this project with baby steps. They could well go out and amaze their fans by the names that could be brought in but in fact they are signing players that the majority haven't heard of and that is down to great scouting. They are also keeping some of the players that were there before the takeover and namely Joelinton and Nick Pope have become better players under Howe too. This isn't an evolution but a revolution and every club in the league can't take their focus from the Tynecastle team who seem to be growing stronger by every passing week.
Newcastle to win the Premier League: 67.00
Back to back defeats against Nottingham Forest and Leeds continue Liverpool's nightmare start to the season however we will focus on their latest conqueror's Leeds United. Leeds inflicted Liverpool's first home defeat of the season and also their first home defeat since March 2021. A huge effort for a team who had won just two games prior to this none on the road ensured that manager Jesse Marsch keeps his job for now. One could have seen Leeds being swept aside here, conceding five goals and Marsch being waved off back to America but the likeable manager has got stuck in and his own words 'stopped the bleeding'. Except he hasn't. Not to pour cold water on a fantastic victory but Marsch will have to analyse the game and his players- they came through for him no doubt, but he needs that type of commitment every week. Leeds could aim high with some additions and aim for Europe at some point and that has to sound better than aiming for the Championship. Perhaps some tough choices also need to be made Patrick Bamford who is a very good forward seems to have lost a lot since an injury which kept him out for much of last season and at times he looks like a passenger on the pitch. It will be interesting to see what Leeds do from here because one amazing result does not save jobs in the end but if they can raise their game in that manner then they have it within them to do much better overall can Marsch keep uncovering that?
On the international stage Australia are the latest to speak out about the World Cup being held in Qatar. Is this not just virtue signalling though? Denmark have spoken out also and are going to wear black shirts in some kind of protest against the sad souls who lost their life being under paid building the stadiums. Both teams will happily still participate in the competition, but surely the right thing to do would be to pull out of a competition that you clearly do not feel happy to play a part in? That would be the ultimate protest against a regime. Black shirts and words will be forgotten about quickly, if that is their protest it is akin to throwing a stone in the ocean.