Newcastle United's victorious start to the season against Notts Forest may have been tempered by dodgy refereeing decisions in the five games after that leading to official complaints and video assistant referee suspensions but Eddie Howe's Magpies side returned to winning ways in spectacular style on Saturday beating Fulham 4-1 away.
It was in part thanks to a correct use of Video Replay Technology when VAR Mike Dean upgraded the yellow card on-pitch referee Darren England had given Nathaniel Chalobah for a horror challenge on Sean Longstaff in the opening minutes of the game that the Geordie midfielder was lucky to walk away from:
A superb two-goal performance from Paraguayan Miguel Almiron including this worldie volley which will be a Goal of the Month and potentially Goal of the Season contender:
put Newcastle up to a healthier looking 7th place in The Premier League table above Liverpool and just behind Man United with a points total & position that should at least be six points and four places higher after some disgraceful officiating this year:
Newcastle's next challenge is against 10th-placed Brentford who are just one point below The Magpies after a fortunate 0-0 draw at Bournemouth thanks to some very questionable refereeing from newcomer Thomas Brammall making just his second appearance in charge of a Premier League game and his inexperience showed with two penalties to Bournemouth turned down that other referees may have awarded with this last-minute decision being very difficult to stomach for aggrieved Cherries fans:
The point means The Bees have suffered just one defeat in the previous five Premier League games - to League leaders Arsenal - after another good start to a top-flight season inspired by the goals and all-round performances of former Newcastle striker Ivan Toney, whose five goals so far propelled him into the England squad although he didn't make his debut against Italy or Germany despite also getting the Goal of the Month award for this sumptuous chip against Leeds to complete a memorable hat-trick:
On Saturday, Toney will be up against another striker with Three Lions World Cup ambitions in Newcastle's Callum Wilson, who did his hopes of making Gareth Southgate's squad no harm by scoring a Premier League goal within 11 minutes of his return from injury to make it 3 in 4 for the season as well as that questionable disallowed goal against Brighton and has the third best nPxG+xA per game stats (pressures, expected goals & assists) in& The Premier League this season after the freakish Erling Haaland and the man he replaced at The Etihad, Arsenal's Gabriel Jesus:
Wilson's strike was a typical poacher's goal but if he can stay fit until the Premier League breaks up for The World Cup in November and continues his terrific scoring output, he could yet convince Gareth Southgate he is worthy of a place on the plane.
Newcastle's match against Brentford will be a good litmus test to see how much the black and whites have progressed under Eddie Howe, whose first game in charge of the club came against Thomas Frank's Bees last November :
in a 3-3 draw thanks to goals from Club Captain Jamaal Lascelles, Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin, who again be ready for a starring role as the Magpies look to record successive victories for the first time this season and kick on up the Premier League table towards those coveted European places.
In his pre-match presser, Howe spoke about the anniversary of the NUFC takeover:
Its exactly a year since Newcastle were taken over by the Saudi-backed Consortium last October and the club issued an open letter written by Newcastle's Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan to Newcastle fans thanking them for their loyal support and promising never to take them for granted in the drive for success and "domestic and European trophies":
A win by Howe's side would put the icing on the cake and Howe had good news for Newcastle fans on the injury front with both Allan Saint-Maximin & Joelinton potentially returning for The Magpies but with Alexander Isak and JonJo Shelvey still sidelined.
Howe may be reluctant to change a winning team after the destruction of Fulham yet the talents of Allan Saint-Maximin Brazilian sensation Joelinton might force their way into the starting line-up. Either way I expect a win for Newcastle despite Brentford attempts to spoil the takeover anniversary party to mark a good year since the takeover.
Prediction - Newcastle 3 Brentford 1