Georginio Wijnaldum scored four times in a stunning performance as Newcastle United romped to a 6-2 victory over Norwich City at St James’ Park to move off the bottom of the Premier League table.
The Netherlands international, who becomes only the second Newcastle player to score four goals in a Premier League game after Alan Shearer, opened the scoring with a low finish.
Robbie Brady hit the post for the visitors, before Norwich drew level when Dieumerci Mbokani converted from close range.
A Wijnaldum header and Ayoze Perez’s strike had Steve McClaren’s men two goals ahead, but Nathan Redmond’s volley put the game back in the balance until a second-half strike from Aleksandar Mitrovic and another Wijnaldum header ended the game as a contest.
The Dutchman then put the icing on the cake when his long-range effort deflected into the top corner to seal a morale-boosting victory ahead of next week’s trip to fierce rivals Sunderland.
Wijnaldum and Moussa Sissoko – who had a hand in four of Newcastle’s six goals – were the stars of the show, helping McClaren to a first league win as Magpies manager.
Norwich, who are yet to keep a Premier League clean sheet this term, drop to 16th after their winless run was extended to four league games.
A breathless encounter thrilled from the off and Newcastle took the lead 14 minutes in – Sissoko impressively weaved into space at the edge of the area and found Wijnaldum, who slotted an accurate finish past John Ruddy.
Norwich’s response was swift. After Brady cannoned a long-range shot off the post, Mbokani stole in to convert Martin Olsson’s left-wing cross at the near post.
A thrilling first half continued as the home side moved back in front in the 26th minute. Sissoko again made the goal, sending an inviting cross in from the right for Wijnaldum to charge into the box and direct a downward header beyond Ruddy.
Norwich had strong appeals for a penalty waved away and Newcastle took advantage as Sissoko led a quick counter-attack, carrying the ball from his own half, before finding Perez, who drove a low shot into the corner at the second time of asking.
The match took another dramatic turn when the visitors got back into it a minute later. Olsson’s deep cross made it all the way through to Redmond at the far post and the winger planted a volley past Rob Elliot, playing in place of the injured Tim Krul.
Wijnaldum made the difference in his own box early in the second half when he cleared former Newcastle defender Sebastien Bassong’s header off the line.
That intervention was made all the more crucial when Newcastle made it four with 26 minutes remaining. Sissoko was the creator again, chipping a pass into the path of Mitrovic, who controlled and finished emphatically.
Within two minutes later it was game over. The overlapping Daryl Janmaat floated in a cross from the right and Wijnaldum got up to power another header past Ruddy to seal a brilliant hat-trick.
Norwich continued to attack and Redmond again hit the woodwork with a right-footed drive from the edge of the box.
But Wijnaldum deservedly had the final say as his 20-yard drive looped over Ruddy via a Steven Whittaker deflection to put Newcastle in buoyant mood ahead of next weekend’s Tyne-Wear derby against Sunderland – and former St James’ manager Sam Allardyce.
Key Opta stats:
– Newcastle United scored six goals in a PL game for the first time since August 2010 (vs Aston Villa), in earning their first win of the season.
– Norwich City have won just one of their last 16 Premier League away games (D5 L10).
– This was the highest scoring Premier League match so far this season.
– Georginio Wijnaldum became the 7th Dutch player to score a Premier League hat-trick, after Dennis Bergkamp, Marc Overmars, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Robin van Persie and Dirk Kuyt.
– Newcastle scored with all six of their shots on target.
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