It’s funny what momentum and confidence can do to a team.
After three losses in a row—and the Liverpool defeat perhaps the most painful of the lot under the circumstances—Newcastle’s season looked to be in some trouble. Fast forward a few weeks and Eddie Howe’s side are now unbeaten in five games in all competitions, with three wins on the spin in the league, a point at San Siro in the Champions League, and dumping Manchester City out of the Carabao Cup.
Let’s just say Newcastle’s season has really started to ignite.
Apart from a nervy chance for the visitors from Burnley in the opening minute of Saturday’s contest, Newcastle were very comfortable and controlled the majority of the game against the Clarets.
Newcastle could be forgiven for not having their shooting boots on properly after their mauling of Sheffield United last weekend, but the Magpies created a number of opportunities that weren’t put away or they misplaced a pass in the final third.
Miguel Almiron opened the scoring with a quite exquisite finish from distance in the 14th minute. Kieran Trippier pounced on some nervy Burnley defending to set the Paraguay international on his way as Miggy bent a sumptuous ball into the top corner from 25 yards.
Alexander Isak was unable to add a second on his left foot with the goal gaping having initially been denied by James Trafford, only for the ball to loop up over the goalkeeper but was unable to turn it home.
The impressive Sean Longstaff kept things ticking over in midfield, and it’s been no surprise that Bruno Guimaraes has been back to his best with Longstaff beside him. The pair have struck a really good relationship in midfield, and the team are dominating games more with Longstaff starting.
James Trafford then superbly kept out a close-range diving header from Elliot Anderson to keep Burnley within touching distance.
The second half began with Newcastle on top. Trippier had a shot deflected inches wide in the first minute of the half.
Injuries are the one negative for Newcastle right now, and Joelinton—who had just entered the field—had to be replaced shortly after his introduction with what looks to be a hamstring injury. The Brazilian had just returned to fitness in midweek against Manchester City, and early reports suggest it will be a lengthy absence.
Newcastle were without Harvey Barnes, who faces being out until the new year, in addition to Callum Wilson and Sven Botman, who both failed late fitness tests.
Joe Willock is still working his way back from injury and hasn’t been seen so far this season. The injuries are becoming a real concern for Eddie Howe.
Newcastle’s dominance prevailed as they doubled their lead, Isak sending Trafford the wrong way from the spot after Al Dakhil had slid in on Gordon.
Next up for Eddie Howe’s side is the visit of PSG in the Champions League, before they head to the capital to face West Ham, the final game before the next international break (yes, another one).
Despite the mounting injuries, Newcastle can be confident of coming away with victories in the next two fixtures. Albeit very difficult, confidence and momentum can carry a team a long way just as we saw last season.
Wednesday night will be a special one at St James’ Park, the first Champions League game on Tyneside in over two decades, and we cannot wait.