With the Blues having picked up maximum points from our opening two league games, the visit of Newcastle United will undoubtedly provide our sternest test thus far, and Fernando Torres believes it’s imperative we build on what has been a solid start to the new season.
Successive wins, against Wigan Athletic and Reading, have ensured a positive mood around the camp, and while the midweek victory against Brian McDermott’s side wasn’t without the odd scare, we showed tremendous heart to turn around a 2-1 half-time deficit.
It was Torres who scored the crucial third against the newly-promoted side, his first league goal of the new campaign, stabbing home Ashley Cole’s cross from close-range, and after also netting in the Community Shield against Manchester City, the Spaniard, as he admits, is in great spirits.
‘I’m feeling good, feeling sharp,’ says the Euro 2012 Golden Boot winner. ‘I’ve only been back in training for less than a month but the team is showing that we can hopefully do big things this season.
‘It’s always important, particularly in the Premier League, to start picking up points as quickly as possible, because the top teams don’t lose many matches or drop too many points, so I think it’s very good for us that we’re top of the table after our first two games.’
It’s no exaggeration to suggest that today’s visitors were the surprise package of last season, with a fifth-place finish which exceeded expectations in the north-east.
Alan Pardew’s side left Stamford Bridge in May with all three points after a Papiss Cisse brace had proved the difference on the night, and having got their season off to a flying start last weekend with a 2-1 win against Tottenham Hotspur, Torres is expecting yet another tough encounter.
‘We need to be in the top few positions when it comes to December and January, and to do that we need to keep picking up points,’ he says.
‘Saturday against Newcastle will be a very tough game. They proved last season what a good team they are, and it’s the first real big test of the season for us.’
Our attacking options have been enhanced immensely over the course of the summer with the acquisitions of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin.
Hazard has stolen all the headlines from our first two games, and rightly so after a couple of wonderful performances by the young Belgian, and Torres is licking his lips at the prospect of linking up with such talented players on a weekly basis.
‘Players like [Juan] Mata, Hazard and Oscar are fantastic, and for a striker such as myself, it’s a real privilege to play alongside them and I’m just trying to enjoy it,’ says the striker.