Newcastle United have had a competent, if understated start to the campaign.
This month’s 1-1 draw against Liverpool, then four points against Southampton and Crystal Palace, left the Magpies is a solid seventh in the Premiership table, and they have shown sufficient depth to suggest they can maintain mid-table status and avoid the relegation battles that have become part of the annual routine for the Toon Army.
They have so far managed largely without the services of Senegal international Henri Saivet (pictured above).
Since signing at the beginning of 2016, the versatile midfielder has been more commonly seen out on loan to Ligue 1 team Saint Etienne than at St James’ Park.
His only appearance for the Magpies this season has been in their 3-2 defeat to Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup back in August.
Many fans feel Saivet’s undoubted talent is being wasted on the bench, yet there is the feeling that he has yet to entirely gain the trust of manager Rafa Benitez.
It could be that we will have to wait till the FA Cup gets underway to see him gain some more time in the middle, and prove that he can become an indispensable part of the Newcastle backbone.
Long odds from the online gambling world
Perhaps one of the biggest impacts the technological age has had on sport has been the increased popularity of online betting It gives a compelling glimpse into potential club fortunes, and even those who have no interest in sports betting find it intriguing to study the odds. The linkages between the sports betting sites and online casinos such as toplivecasino.co.uk have also served to bring football betting to a new audience, as many of those who like a spin at the roulette wheel find themselves drawn into the fortunes of their local football club.
As far as Newcastle are concerned, the biggest question from those gazing into their crystal ball concerns whether the Magpies will be able to soothe the Toon Army’s collective fevered brow as far as relegation fears are concerned. Most bookies have Newcastle odds-on to stay up, at around 1/25, and are quoting 14/1 on relegation.
Odds of 11/10 on a top-ten finish look highly tempting at this point in the season, and those of an even more optimistic persuasion can get 50/1 on them finishing in the top six.
What’s next for the Magpies?
Those odds might look on the long side, but if Newcastle can build on their draw against Liverpool with victory over Burnley at the end of the month, they could start November as high as fourth.
The chances of Saivet playing an active roll over the coming weeks are less likely.
If Newcastle are indeed able to string some wins together, Benitez will undoubtedly take a conservative attitude and avoid breaking a winning formula. One thing is certain, though, if Newcastle beat Burnley, the odds of that top six finish will have dropped well below 50/1 by this time next month.