Thu 30 May 2024, 16:00 · Mark Davis

Our picks for the 10 best Newcastle United matches of 2023/24

Our picks for the 10 best Newcastle United matches of 2023/24
Share Tweet

It’s been a kaleidoscope of emotions for Newcastle fans over the last week; even after the final Premier League ball was kicked.

The lads flew off to the other side of the planet for a much-maligned post-season tour; the youngsters showed just how behind they are from their ‘Big 6’ contemporaries by losing 8-0; and Manchester United proved to have the last laugh (as they always seem to) by denying us European football… despite us finishing above them for the first time in the Premier League era…

It would be easy to let the pessimism seep in, but let’s face it; superstars Alexander Isak and Bruno Guimarães were never going to let the grand prize of away trips to Macedonia and Gibraltar sway them on whether they saw their immediate future at Newcastle or elsewhere…

So, as we take a minute to catch our breaths after an incredibly topsy-turvy season, we thought we’d look back at some positives; namely, our favourite Newcastle games from the 2023-2024 season - and there was a lot of them up for discussion before we whittled it down to a top ten.

It says something when the 3-0 home wins over Wolves and Fulham (the latter of which saw Lewis Miley become the club’s youngest ever Premier League goalscorer) and 4-goal away wins at Burnley and Brentford don’t even make the cut for ‘Honourable Mentions’. (Scoring four in one game used to be a once-per-season occurrence in the Rafa and Brucie days)...

So, join us for a nostalgic festival of goals, batterings, sweet sweet revenge and many more rosy memories to further warm you up - over a summer that promises Euros football, transfer murmurings and plenty more gardening for Dan Ashworth!


10) Manchester City (Home) League Cup - Won 1-0

Much was made of Newcastle’s unforgiving cup draws - with Man Utd, Chelsea, City (twice), Milan, Dortmund and PSG (more on them later) being our just rewards for a prior season of overachievement.

This game (much like the 3-3 league game twelve months earlier) showed that when we went at City with intent and aggression, they flinched in surprise and wilted. And so it was… when Joelinton bustled his way into the City box like a rampaging rhino to set up Isak, it proved the difference between a shy Newcastle side and a complacent Man City; who were without the brilliance of Kevin de Bruyne, refused to lug Erling Haaland off the bench and fielded a slumbering Kalvin Phillips in midfield.

Nonetheless, it was an impressive victory and reminded the country that Newcastle were taking every competition seriously. Paul Dummett clattering pantomime villain Jack Grealish was also a highlight. Get in.

9) Aston Villa (Away) Premier League - Won 3-1

The script was written; Villa, on an unprecedented charge towards Champions League football, were unbeaten at home in the league for almost an entire calendar year, having already dispatched title favourites Manchester City and Arsenal in the space of a week. Newcastle, with just one league away win all season up to that point, were arriving at Villa Park cast in the role of sacrificial lambs as the ‘Sob on the Tyne’ brigade sought revenge for the 5-1 mauling on opening day.

The brummies were in for a sudden jolt of reality. The home crowd was nervous, silent, and long before the final whistle; emptying - as Newcastle romped into a 3-0 lead and Villa left-back Alex Moreno even contrived to straddle himself on his own goalpost as he prodded in number three. Ouch.


8) Arsenal (Home) Premier League - Won 1-0 and cost them the league, apparently

As performances go, this was nowhere near our best. But for histrionics, debate, and memorability, it was a corker.

Cracking the top 10 sheerly for inducing the Arteta meltdown and the subsequent ridiculous club statement doubling down on their sensitive Spaniard’s outburst… Anthony Gordon’s much debated tap-in saw the Gunners blunted, outfought and beaten for the first time all season.

7) Sheffield United (Away) Premier League - Won 8-0

One of those ‘King Midas’ games where everything we touched turned to gold, as eight different Magpies put the ball in the Blades’ net and wrote themselves into Newcastle club history. It showed a cutting edge and ruthlessness to the side which was scarce at times the season before, but this game was marred by the injuries to Harvey Barnes and Sven Botman; which ultimately put a death knell on our season.

It also felt a bit cruel after the fifth goal went in; but that was because it was Sheffield United. If it had been Man United, we would have been shouting for nine or ten…


6) West Ham United (Home) Premier League - Won 4-3

If one game summarised our season as a whole, it was this one. Seven goals, lapses in concentration at the back, excellent finishes, penalty controversy, and a needless red card for Anthony Gordon which cost us dearly in the following game versus Everton (a one-goal lead is never enough when Paul Dummett decides to start wrestling serial diving featherweights like Ashley Young to the ground).

Shortly into the second half, we found ourselves 3-1 down and fans quietly praying for the season to end early and put us out of our misery. It was a write-off of injuries and poor defensive mishaps, and Europe was surely out of the question now. All hope was lost; until on came Harvey Barnes and our old friend from #10 on this list; Kalvin Phillips; to turn the tide in our favour. Two exquisite Barnes finishes and a penalty earned from Mr Phillips secured the most memorable comeback seen at SJP since the 4-4 fairytale v Arsenal back in 2011.

Suddenly, Europe was a possibility again, West Ham were in freefall, and we had a springboard to go and hunt down a floundering Manchester United in 6th. We did catch them in the end, although a certain FA Cup win deemed it pointless anyway. Oh well, at least we kept dreaming until May… it’s the hope that kills you.

5) Tottenham Hotspur (Home) Premier League - Won 4-0

Pride comes before a fall. And Rio Ferdinand had clearly learned nothing from his infamous ‘Ole’s at the Wheel’ gaff a few years ago. This time, he was prattling on about ‘Rolls Royce’ Micky van de Ven and his record-breaking speed stats.

But as we Geordies know from our beloved Miguel Almiron, you need more than speed to thrive in this league. And so it proved, with messrs Isak, Gordon and Guimarães conspiring to make a mockery of the buttered-up Dutchman, who looked like he was playing with butter smeared under his studs.

Last season, we had a lovely snapshot of Isak and West Ham custodian Lukasz Fabianski with their hands on their hips watching the Swede’s cheeky lob loop into the unguarded net. Newcastle’s Pulitzer Prize for this season is undoubtedly Isak claiming his latest victim as he rounds the Dutchman to score, with the unfortunate van de Ven face-planting the SJP turf.

In what was billed as a close encounter, we instead witnessed a one-sided slaughtering. Unlucky, Rio.


4) Manchester United (Away) League Cup - Won 3-0

“You’ve seen United, now f*ck off home!” - it’s not often the traveling Newcastle fans have been able to sing that one on the terraces of the ramshackle Old Trafford…

But here we were with a rag-tag bunch of reserves composed largely of full-backs knocking three past Erik Ten Hag’s circus without reply. This result went some way to avenging the cup final robbery of the previous season; and Eddie Howe describing the cameos of Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson as a ‘training opportunity’ was the icing on an utterly hilarious cake.

3) Sunderland (Away) FA Cup - Won 3-0

A first derby victory since ‘Ryan Taylor over the wall’ some 13 years ago. Yes, it really has been that long. And while Alexander Isak earned himself the new mantel of ‘Mackem Slayer’ with his brace of goals, the MVPs were arguably the generous Sunderland backline, who gifted us two goals and even put one in the net for us.

Or perhaps we should thank the clowns in the Sunderland boardroom who agreed to roll out the red carpet for Eddie Howe’s Mags and a large away following; only to quickly renege on those arrangements with their tails between their legs due to intense media scrutiny and mackem backlash.

So in that respect, the carnage was prematurely done, and Newcastle effectively started with an own-goal advantage before a ball was even kicked. Cheers, boys!

2) Aston Villa (Home) Premier League - Won 5-1

It felt so nice, we had to include these chumps twice! Newcastle versus Aston Villa has become one of the strangest rivalries in modern football. It makes absolutely no sense to anyone not initiated with the history of Villa Park bedsheet banners, beachballs and banter. Yes, the hostility that was started in Birmingham regularly gets humbled at SJP, where an increasingly smug and expectant Brummie contingent were torn apart by Newcastle. Pau Torres experienced a baptism of fire in the thrashing, while serial joker Emi Martinez was sat down like a schoolboy by Isak on his way to picking the ball out of his net five times.

I imagine this result will be a regular occurrence for the ‘Sob on the Tyne’ brigade in the Champions League next season… but that’s none of my business, is it?

1) PSG (Home) Champions League - Won 4-1

It was always going to be this one, wasn’t it? And what else can I say that hasn’t already been waxed lyrical about by Geordies far more articulate and poetic than myself?

Whoever says football is just a game, has clearly never seen SJP under the lights with the Champions League anthem serenading the city with goosebump-raising euphoria…

These games are what unites a community and live longest in the memory for an entire generation of fans - and to see two Geordie boys on the scoresheet was just a black-and-white-blooded-bonus. Imagine what the fanfare will be like one day when this incredible club wins something?

Champions League… we hope to see you again soon.

Honourable Mentions

Crystal Palace (Home) Premier League - Won 4-0

A 4-0 thumping that dispatched Hodgson’s usually sturdy defence with aplomb. This game really announced Jacob Murphy and Anthony Gordon as players transformed.

Manchester United (Home) Premier League - Won 1-0

Has there ever been a more one-sided 1-0? Probably several under Erik Ten Hag’s watch, to be fair… they were dreadful.

Chelsea (Home) Premier League - Won 4-1

A resurgent Chelsea came to SJP and had their pants pulled down and their captain sent off. Hilarious.

Nottingham Forest (Away) Premier League - Won 3-2

A Bruno Guimarães masterclass won a topsy-turvy encounter at the City Ground - all five goals were fantastic.

AC Milan (Away) Champions League - Drew 0-0

Not a victory but an incredible atmosphere and a doggedly defensive performance that served as a reminder of just how incredible the Eddie Howe turnaround has been.