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Fact Or Fiction Friday

Newcastle United: Third Best?

“Fact Or Fiction” is a series that will be run every Friday. In this series, an assertion will be made regarding an impacting topic in the Premier League. EPL Talk writers Matt Hackenmiller and Earl Reed each offer their views on whether the statement is “Fact or Fiction.”

Fact or Fiction: Outside of the Big Two from Manchester, Newcastle United has been the third best team in the Premier League so far this season.

MH: Fact by default. Newcastle has not lost yet this season and they have played fine football for the most part. They have also showed an ability to get points away from St. James’s Park. But picking the third best team to this point is a very tricky endeavor. Liverpool looked to that team early, but they have struggled of late. Chelsea has been uninspiring in their victories. Arsenal? I won’t go there. It could be Tottenham if they continue to play the way they did last weekend. At this point, I would say Newcastle United are the third best team in the league, although they could be knocked from that pedestal quite soon.

ER: Fiction. The Magpies have been a good team thus far, a surprise given the losses of Andy Carroll, Kevin Nolan, Jose Enrique and Joey Barton over the last 9 months. The players who remain, with a few key additions, have coalesced and found some solid early results this season. But for me, their fixture list has been somewhat kind to start the season. As Matt has said, no team has stood out to clearly be considered third-best. Chelsea hasn’t always looked at ease, which might be expected with a new manager and a haunted forward. Newcastle United and Aston Villa have been draw-happy. Stoke would be a choice, but their dismantling against a reeling Sunderland is a stain on their season thus far. Compared to those teams, Chelsea has been better on a more consistent basis: three wins and their only loss at Old Trafford.

What do you think, is it fact or fiction that Newcastle United has been the third best team in the Premier League so far this season?

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  1. Monty Magpie

    October 31, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Newcastle proving that they are the 3rd best team and the No1 defence in the league right now after 3-1 win away to Stoke.

  2. Darren

    September 26, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Well, at the minute, fiction. We’re 4th, with easier fixtures then chelsea, they’re 3rd best, we’re 4th.

    But we can take a lot of positives from this, our defense has looked good, even without a true left back, ryan taylor has done well though, Cabaye, Oberton, Marvuax have all looked very good, and they’re still settling into the squad, this is 3 really good bits of business.

    Ba for free and scoring has looked good, he’s a very similar type of player to Carroll which helps as our team was based around that fact. He just seems to be settling in as well.
    We also have gotten goals out of the goal poacher Best, may be able to do little else, but goals are a good currency.

    The big test of our season will be when we lose our first match, On the one hand we may get depressed, upset, frustrated and start losing and plummeting down the table, but if Pardew can keep our players spirits up even after defeats, we will push strongly into the top end of the table.

    We have the players to push for Europe, do we have the manager, we will find out.

  3. Glen

    September 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    I think everyone is missing the point at the minute NUFC are the third best team in the league at the minute of course that could all change. But for now they are the 3rd best team in the league.

  4. Harry

    September 24, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Newcastle are the fifth best team in the EPL and will finish 5th behind City, United, Chelsea and Spurs. Definitely Europa League next season then CL the season after and then the title the one after that. Stranger things have happened 🙂 .

  5. John R

    September 24, 2011 at 12:57 am

    Newcastle fan here. Fiction. Agree on all points with Les, above. But the thing i am enjoying is going back to the articles (on other sites) predicting newcastle was destined for relegation. i know its early in the season, but this team is better than most think (but not third in the league). the talent they have brought it could be stars. add HBA and Davide Stanton to the mix and they could push for a Europa League spot (though im predicting an 8-9 finish) they have had a couple games where they were desperately trying to not concede a goal, much less trying to score, so obviously there is lots of room for improvement. the opening games have been favorable for NUFC, so the november/december run of games with back to back to back with manu, city, and chelsea will be the true test of this team.

  6. NoOneLikesUsWeDon'tCare

    September 23, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Come on. It’s just too early to say something like that. Newcastle have impressed early and I hope they find they’re way back into European action. But garnering a Champions League spot is a level that no one can truly expect then to hold for the next 33 fixtures

  7. Garth

    September 23, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Newcastle the 3rd best team so far, Rubbish!

    Chelsea not only have one more point but have put in decent performances, even in their loss to United they played well.

    Spurs are also better than Newcastle. Spurs lost to City and United, not mid- or lower-table teams.

    Newcastle does not have the talent of Liverpool or Arsenal but anyone that argues they have been better than those two teams has a point and I would not argue with that. But Newcastle better than Chelsea or Spurs? Time to get off those meds!

  8. Les

    September 23, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    As a NUFC fan, I would love to say it’s fact, but they have looked uninspired/overmatched at times. They looked great against Aston Villa and good against Sunderland and Fulham, but they were fortunate to get points against Arsneal and QPR. Krul and the defense have looked fantastic, but they don’t have enough firepower to compete consistently against the big boys. This sadly is fiction.

  9. King Eric

    September 23, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    definitely fiction. people, we’re only in 5 games of a 38 game season with the likes of arsenal and spurs still bottom mid table – it takes time to adjust itself. christmas has always been a good indicator of where teams are and will end up. i remember this time last season when bolton were in champs league qualifying and blackpool were in a europa league spot, come on now, get real. their lack of scoring will catch up with them as they have zero firepower up front or in mf. look for them to finish mid/top-half of the table again.

  10. mike

    September 23, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    This comment was left last week but needs to be stated again. Do you really only have time for one fact or fiction? Nothing like being excited for a good article only to see that it is a measly two paragraphs. It is a great concept but needs a little bit more effort.

    • The Gaffer

      September 23, 2011 at 1:29 pm

      Mike, the concept is one question. The column is meant to incent readers to join in the debate, which is working.

      The Gaffer

    • Earl Reed

      September 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm

      Mike: Thank you for your feedback. We’re always looking to improve the content. Seems like people are being engaged by the discussion, which is 100% the intent of the article. I think your feedback is valid, and we’ll consider how to incorporate your feedback in future installments.

  11. Shaka

    September 23, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Oh come on guys, Newcastle has been the best team in the prem thus far. So guys did you catch the news about the pigs flying?

  12. Adam

    September 23, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Fiction. You have to give Newcastle all the credit in the world with their start and with the turnover in the squad, to start they way they have started has been fantastic. Third best is getting a little carried away in my opinion, although with all the gloom and doom mongers that have been floating around in the media you can not be anything but impressed with their start. There are some massively under rated players in their squad and hopefully they can continue and improve on their great start as the squad continues to bed down and have more time playing with each other. Also don’t forget, getting Ben Arfa back is a huge lift. I think you can make a good case for him being the most gifted player not playing for a ‘Sky Six’ team. Looking forward to seeing if they can keep up the progress and if we are having this conversation on November or December 23rd.

  13. Stephen

    September 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    As an NUFC fan to say the fixture list has been kind to us is totally off. Arsenal then Sunderland then to win against Fulham a side who can’t concede tough game at villa and QPR are looking good now. However as someone has already said a really long season and to say Newcastle have been the third best team is the same as saying Arsenal are gonna get relegated too sooooon!

  14. FCAsheville

    September 23, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Loooooooooooooong season ahead and of course this article is a tad silly at this point. 10 games is key point for some real evaluation, but statistically where you are even this early is pretty close to where you’ll finish. There are exceptions…this time last season LFC was 19th and finished 6th. I would expect the same from Arsenal this year.

    I would expect a solid top 10 finish from Newcastle and I think they would be very happy with that.

  15. Sukit

    September 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    These people that have commented on this article are mentally retarded, no doubt…Liverpool = Sh*t, Stoke = Worse, Chelsea = Sh*t, but who cares about those losers…Newcastle have been the third best team thus far = FACT…jjerg, your dribbling sh*t, stick to cricket (You’re both pathetic) = Match. Genuinely impressed the imbreds weren’t completely illiterate though = Well Done.

  16. Javier

    September 23, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Fiction – Chelsea,Liverpool even Stoke are today better than Magpies.

  17. Phil McThomas

    September 23, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Fiction – agree with what Earl Reed said. There’s no way that Newcastle are better than Chelsea

  18. Jjerg

    September 23, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Newcastle has been mediocre at best. Away @ Sunderland nice but home win vs Fulham and draw @ Villa expected. Home draw vs an Arsenal squad in shambles and a draw @ QPR is a lower half squad result. Even in the league cup they need ET to get past Scunthorp, yes Scunthorp, and allow 3 goals to a Forrest squad that can’t score in the Championship.
    Now with Barton & Enrique gone, I would not be surprised if Newcastle battle with the Blackburns (who beat Arsenal @ home) & Wigans for the opportunity to win the parachute payment. Well maybe not Wigan, they have a good coach.


  19. Daniel

    September 23, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Spurs fan as a disclaimer for the following:

    Tottenham have looked really good in their past two matches with Parker and Adebayor really adding what the team has lacked recently.
    Their first two games WERE horrible, but also two of their hardest fixtures of the season and with no holding midfielder either game (although arguably Harry should have played Kaboul there — two number 10’s was suicide).
    If they could play and win their game in hand right now they could be third already.
    The only real weak link I see is a backup for Adebayor.

    Not ready to challenge for the top, but I think 4th is not unreasonable and third not out of the question. Remember, last season they fell just short of taking 4th and that without a forward who could find the net.

  20. reidscott

    September 23, 2011 at 11:07 am

    I am praying for City. United, Newcastle, Villa….

    Answer: prob fiction…

  21. B

    September 23, 2011 at 10:44 am


    Man Utd 5 15
    Man City 5 13
    Chelsea 5 10
    Newcastle 5 9

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