Newcastle were the surprise package last season, they went until November until suffering their first defeat, but a tough start to the season has seen them pick up a loss already away to Chelsea.
The big plus was their win over Spurs on the opening day, but a draw against a previously point-less Aston Villa was a definite disappointment.
Next they head to Goodison Park, in just under two weeks time, knowing already they cannot afford a second loss in four games if they want to push on this season.
If Newcastle could finish fifth this season, it certainly would be an achievement, the competition looks tougher than ever, and their squad is going to be stretched, early on at least, in the Europa League.
So has Mike Ashley done enough in the transfer market to give the club a fighting chance?
His tough negotiating reputation meant clubs shied away from making bids for their top stars, and keeping hold of players like Tiote, Cisse, Ba, and Krul gives them a chance at replicating their success.
But on the incomings front, supporters might ask about the club's ambition to move forward, or at least their methods, with the lack of big new arrivals. Where Newcastle could be short is if anything were to happen to Papiss Cisse or Demba Ba, both of who will be departing in the New Year for the 2013 African Nations Cup.
Here was a comment left on our website by a Newcastle fan prior to deadline day:
"Surely there has to be something left? I just keep thinking of our goalscorers once Ba and Cisse go to the African cup.. We only just got away with it last year and we had Best and Lovenkrands available to the squad then. Surely we are not going to leave everything down to hoping Shola is fit to play up there on his own are we?? Come on Mike, an extra couple of million now will be worth it in the long run as we will finish higher up the league giving you an instant return."
But there were no new arrivals on deadline day, no replacement for Ryan Taylor who will be a long-term absentee, and Alan Pardew will have to hope there is no more bad news on the injury front.
Newcastle have been sensibly run in recent years, nobody is calling for big name signings for huge money as was the case when they splashed out on Michael Owen, and they did well to walk away from the Andy Carroll deal rather than be held to ransom. But there is risk they could be left short in one or two areas, where a bit more extra cash outgoing could have proved useful.
A good result away to Everton will set them up nicely for games against Norwich and Reading, before they host Manchester United in early October. There would be no better time for Papiss Cisse to bag his first of the season than the clash at Goodison.
What do you think, has Mike Ashley been ambitious enough this summer?
image: © mickyb59