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Aston Villa and West Ham's progress underline just how far Newcastle have fallen

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Newcastle will kick off a critical season before a hopefully throbbing SJP crowd and the live Sky cameras against West Ham on the Sunday of August 15.

Then a week later they will travel to confront Aston Villa on their own midden.

It is viewed by many as an advantageous start to a new campaign, a real opportunity for early points gathering, especially with Southampton to follow.

READ MORE: Transfer advice Allan Saint-Maximin should heed

Yet reality tells a very different story because these are meetings between two clubs making considerable strides in their relentless search for progress and another which is standing stock still stagnating.

There is no need to tell you which is NUFC!

Let us consider the facts. The season before last Villa finished fourth bottom, a mere one point above relegated Bournemouth, while West Ham were fifth bottom.

The two worst survivors.

Villa had scraped together 35 points from their 38 games, the Hammers 39, while Newcastle were up in 13th with 44 points.

Fast forward to the end of the campaign just confined to the history books and West Ham had leaped to a staggering sixth accumulating 65 points........

© Chronicle Live Sport

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