Sharman’s 3 thoughts: Newcastle quietly going about its business

James Sharman and Craig Forrest name a couple of teams to look out for this weekend in Liverpool and Man City, also give a preview on the best rivalries in the Scottish Premier League, as Rangers are set to take on Celtic.

Ahead of every weekend this season I will give you my three thoughts on what’s going on in the Premier League. These might not always be the biggest stories, but rather my personal observations as the games approach each Saturday.

Here’s what makes me somewhat intrigued ahead of Matchday 6.

Celtic and Rangers in the Premier League?

As this week’s Big Question on Sportsnet.ca asks: should Glasgow Celtic and Rangers make the jump to the English Premier League? It is a question that has been debated for years, and for some of you it is a question that is no longer relevant. Of course, if you think that then you are wrong. It is in still an important issue, and will continue to be such, until it actually happens.

Sure, Rangers are rebuilding after hitting rock bottom and being sentenced to a few seasons out of the Scottish top-flight. But for a club of its size and history, it is only a matter of time before we see it once again dominating Scottish football alongside Celtic. Therefore, the elephant in the room of where will these two big clubs eventually play is very much alive and well.

As much as we want to pretend it isn’t true, world football is all about money, and with respect to approximately 85 English teams, both Rangers and Celtic are bigger clubs, and would pull in more money to the Premier League. Celtic and Rangers in the Premier League will eventually happen, just as it is inevitable one day we will have a European Super League, so just accept it.

Watch five games from the Premier League this weekend live on Sportsnet, including Arsenal vs. Manchester City. Coverage begins Saturday at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Battle between the Manchester clubs

It appears this season will boil down to a battle between the two Manchester clubs. Now, having said that I am not yet ready to discount Chelsea as a potential champion just yet, but I haven’t seen enough from any other team to suggest that there will be more than three sides vying for the title.

Both Manchester City and Manchester United have been quite brilliant so far, albeit in different ways. United are a machine, strong at both ends of the field, who have that ability to grind down opponents, hence all those late goals that have dressed up relatively close affairs into blow-outs.

City, on the other hand, is silky smooth in atack. Yes, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero are stealing all the headlines, but if there is an early favourite for Player of the Year, surely it is Kevin De Bruyne. I could watch the Belgian play all day, as it seems as if every time he touches the ball his team have an opportunity to score.

Newcastle quietly going about its business

Six goals scored and four conceded is hardly anything to write home about five games into the season, but for Newcastle United that is just fine. The Magpies find themselves sitting in fourth place, and may be the least-talked about team talked in the Premier League, which is just great for Rafa Benitez and company.

Benitez has very quietly built a very young side with the ability to seamlessly jump from the Championship to the Premier League. It has been a very hospitable schedule for the Magpies to start a new campaign back, and will continue to be for much of the season. I don’t see any horror stretch of games for Rafa’s side, although January will be interesting as he’ll likely go to war with owner Mike Ashley over transfer funds.

All that aside, it is to see Newcastle not only back where it belongs in the top-flight, but also looking like a decent team. All we need now is Leeds, Nottingham Forest, Celtic and Rangers in the Premier League, and we’ll be happy. Right?

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The Jeff Blair Show
Could this be the year for the Spurs?
Originally aired September 22 2017