Newcastle United have been through some trials and tribulations in recent seasons, from challenging for the Champions League places to struggling at the bottom of the table last season. The current Magpies team is just so unpredictable.
Yesterday’s 1-0 victory at Tottenham was a very hard earned one, but it was just rewards for an excellent team display.
One of the major reasons for Newcastle’s victory was the performance of Dutch keeper Tim Krul.
The 25-year-old pulled off a string of top-class saves to deny Spurs. In fact he had to make 14 saves to deny the home side.
As he repeatedly denied Tottenham I think there was a feeling in the ground that it was his day and he was not going to be beaten. Krul had endured a rather patchy campaign last season, after looking like a potential world-class keeper in the previous campaign.
In the last two top-flight games Krul has kept a clean sheet against Chelsea and now against Tottenham. He is starting to look like he is getting back to his best in-between the posts for the Magpies.
The whole Newcastle team produced a disciplined display at White Hart Lane. The likes of Shola Ameobi and Loic Remy defended from the front and worked hard, until Ameobi’s second half substitution.
One of the unsung heroes of the Magpies display had to be French attacker Yoan Gouffran. The former-France under-21 international arrived at Newcastle as a striker, but had also played as a winger in the past for previous clubs.
However, Gouffran proved very effective as a wide-midfielder against Tottenham. The 27-year-old scored in the Magpies 2-0 victory over Chelsea, but it was the defensive side of his game and his tracking back that was impressive against Spurs.
When Gouffran was replaced with five minutes left on the clock and replaced by Gabriel Obertan it was noticeable that Spurs created more chances down their left flank.
Newcastle’s last two results against much-fancied Premier League teams are even more impressive considering the Magpies current injury list. Newcastle are currently without defenders Steven Taylor and Ryan Taylor and midfielder Jonas Guturriez.
All three players would usually be considered regular first team players. Another regular first Fabricio Coloccini has also been out of the team in recent weeks.
The man who scored the only goal of the game Loic Remy looked dangerous up front for the Magpies against the north London side. The French international showed superb composure to score the only goal of the game and his goals could be key if Newcastle are to be successful this season.
The striker is on-loan from QPR, but I am sure that the Magpies will be looking to secure his services on a permanent basis as quickly as possible. His recent form will have other clubs looking at signing him in the summer.
Remy’s parent club QPR are looking for promotion from the Championship and if they succeed then the Hoops may want the striker back at the club.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew was rewarded for a positive team selection with the victory. Selecting two strikers suggested that the Magpies would not just sit back and let Spurs attack them. Pardew did replace Ameobi with Vernon Anita in the second half, as Newcastle defended their one goal lead, but that made sense.
The confidence amongst the Newcastle players must have been rock-bottom when they lost the north-east derby to Sunderland a few weeks ago. However, after the Chelsea victory the Newcastle players looked full of confidence in yesterday’s game and that showed in the Magpies performance at White Hart Lane.
Newcastle will take that new-found confidence into their next two games, with very winnable games at home to Norwich and West Brom up next. The Magpies are 8/13 favourites to defeat the Canaries in that home game and I would not bet against them to claim maximum points.
If the Magpies can find some consistency then they could be very well be outsiders for the top six this season. It is never dull at Newcastle so expect the unexpected for the rest of the campaign, because you just never know what will happen next with the club from the north east.
Can Newcastle put a string of results together?