Rafa Benitez always insisted beating sides around you was crucial to Premier League survival, and with Newcastle’s wins over Manchester United and Spurs, Steve Bruce’s side is doing just that…sort of.
The win against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side on Sunday saw Newcastle close to within a single point of Man United, with the Red Devils facing Liverpool after the international break.
Of course, Newcastle travel to Stamford Bridge to take on an in-form Chelsea side, but if we were to snatch a win, and the Red Devils fail to take three points against their Scouse rivals, we would leapfrog them in the table.
Our only other victory of the season to date was against a similarly struggling Tottenham team, who are also currently on a downward spiral going into the break this week.
So is the tide changing for a couple of the so-called ‘big-six’ clubs?
Manchester United looked dreadful at St James’ Park on Sunday, and a shadow of the side that used to dominate the game.
It is not too difficult to see them continue to struggle, and they could yet see themselves stooping lower into the Premier League nether-regions, before things start to improve.
Spurs find themselves in free-fall like Man United
Tottenham, likewise, look to be in crisis, as they do not look anything near the team that reached the Champions League Final last season.
The likely outcome is that one – or both – of the managers at those two clubs will pay the price, and it remains to be seen where they will turn for their successor if that is the case.
But until then, just how far will they fall before the panic button is pressed?
Certainly, as poor as they both are at the moment, it is unthinkable that either of them will be in the relegation scrap come May, but for now, Newcastle must view the six points they picked up against both Man United and Spurs as taking points from lower half rivals.
Ultimately, Bruce needs to show he can beat the likes of Aston Villa, Sheffield United and Southampton to ensure they edge further away from the drop-zone, and if they can end up above their more illustrious rivals in the process, all the better.