Chelsea and City are currently out in front by a large distance and are understandably favourites to take the crown, though contrary to popular belief, this year's Premier League is not yet just a duel between the two teams in blue.
Newcastle have flown up the table from 18th to 5th in the space of five matches and Pardew and co are being held up as an example of the good that can come from giving a manager some leeway - and having some patience. It's just a shame that it's all a bit nonsense.
While he will enjoy that much more than those previously seen at the ground, it speaks volumes that even positive signs have negative connotations and are displayed almost in jest. His Newcastle team have what it takes to extend their run of form, though it is unlikely to mean much more in the way of support and backing for Pardew.
Latching on to Ryan Taylor's through ball, the teenager strode forward some 20 yards, leaving £25 million worth of centre-half in his wake, before co...
Despite his well documented frustration at Manchester United, the Scot is a highly respected manager with unquestioned ability. He may just be the man that Newcastle need to turn them into a consistent top-half side.
Players tipped for success have struggled and others have surprised, settling into life in the world's top league. Some teams have bought well and improved on last season's outing, but others have inexplicably struggled. Here is the ultimate collection of the Premier League's biggest over and under-achievers so far.
There has been plenty of class from the 35 sides who didn't go down straight away. Some even surprised everyone and punched well above their weight when back (or debuting) in the big time. Here are five of the best.
The news may seem like a win for those who believe that too many owners, chairmen and chief executives are too trigger happy when it comes to firing managers in search of immediate success. However, in reality, Alan Pardew is lucky to have lasted in the Newcastle hot-seat for as long as he has.
Many would argue that a stroke of luck in the transfer market which led to the Tyneside club signing the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa and Cheick Tiote on the cheap, made Pardew look better than he is and have helped in prolonging his stay. Now that the dust has settled, his tactical and man-management deficiencies seem to be showing him up for what he really is.
Managers have been taking risks by signing injured players or those with a lengthy injury history for a while now, as well as being desperately unlucky when they pick one up soon after arriving. Here are five recent signings who, had they stayed fit, could have drastically improved their club's season.
While most teams tend to float around the same part of the table for a few years at least, the Magpies have barely established any degree of consistency in their position over the past 21 years... Breaking into the top 7 may be beyond Newcastle United, but improving on last season and moving up the Premier League certainly isn't.
The only thing that has appeased fans until now is the 2011/12 season where Newcastle finished 5th in the League and qualified for Europe - a position that many fans believe is where the club truly belongs... This may just be Ashley's last chance to prove to them that he is not in football simply for to turn a profit from a venerable and beloved North East institution.
To let a player of such undeniable potential rot in the reserves ahead of a cut-price or bosman move elsewhere is all sorts of counterproductive. Even Ben Arfa's worst season at the club yielded 8 assists, and if Pardew can bring himself to clear the air, he could be blessed with an impact sub to devastating effect.
Though they ended the previous campaign extremely poorly, Newcastle have made significant strides in the transfer market to ensure that they are not in a similar situation again. They appear to have learned from their mistakes to a degree and their eagerness in the window this time around should reap the rewards.
Tasked with bringing in new faces, Kinnear oversaw just one signing during the summer transfer window, acquiring striker Loïc Rémy on loan from QPR. The Frenchman moved to Loftus Road last January and finished their top goalscorer with 6 goals despite his short time in the capital before moving to Newcastle.
The three largest football clubs in the north-east come from Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough. Since the election of 'New Labour' in 1997, all three have either been promoted to, or relegated from the English Premier League.