After Sunday’s epic 5-1 victory over Aston Villa, you’d look at Eddie Howe’s Newcastle side and suggest that they were already right up for the challenges that the 2023/24 season will bring.
The Magpies were simply sensational at St. James’ Park, and not many teams will be able to live with them on Tyneside if they continue to produce performances of such high quality.
Villa were, for the opening quarter hour at least, giving as good as they got, but as soon as Tyrone Mings was stretchered off with a season-ending injury, their race was run.
Unai Emery will ensure that his team put that loss firmly behind them as quickly as possible, and they’re back to playing the energetic and exciting brand of football that they’ve become known for under the former Arsenal manager.
Both teams find themselves in Europe this season, with Newcastle back in the Champions League for the first time in two decades.
Speaking on Sky’s Monday Night Football programme, Jamie Carragher gave his opinion on who he thought would have the best campaign on the continent this season.
“I think Aston Villa will go further in Europe than Newcastle will. Newcastle could drop into the Europa League if they finish third in the Champions League, of course,” he said (h/t Geordie Boot Boys).
“But I think we will underestimate Newcastle, including myself. We say they can’t keep this going, it’s only one game this season, but that was a carbon copy of what we saw last season.
“It reminded me of what we saw from Liverpool four or five years ago, high energy, pace all over the pitch.”
It’s an interesting theory, though one can speculate at how much pressure Howe and his players will be under in the premier European tournament.
Domestic success remains the bread and butter for both sides, so whenever they tumble out of their respective competitions, if they’re still doing well in the Premier League, that should be enough of a consolation.