Yet another Jamaal Lascelles winner handed us our third win on the bounce on Saturday, sending us up to fourth in the league after five games of the new season.
If that wasn’t enough of a positive from another great weekend on Tyneside, here’s FIVE more plus points we took from Saturday’s 2-1 win over Stoke:
Rob ‘The Rock’ Elliot
Benitez had been in the market for a new no.1 over the summer, but Rob Elliot’s rock solid form has done everything to suggest he didn’t need one. He made three crucial second half stops and, in doing so, played a huge part in yet another three points. We have a team who works hard, looks organised and hard to break down, but having a reliable keeper behind all of that is essential – and Elliot looks just that.
Consistency from the captain
Lascelles’ performance against Swansea turned a few heads, but I went into the Stoke game hoping he could continue from where he left off and he did just that. Yes he scored the winner which will give him all the plaudits, but he defended superbly yet again and put in another assured all round display. There’s little doubting his character and capability as a captain, but it’s now great to see him show his class on the pitch.
This team has character and they showed it once again
We had the chances to put Stoke to bed, but Shaqiri’s second half strike rather sickeningly got them back on level terms. We could’ve let our heads drop, and previous NUFC sides would, but we dug in and responded with a winner and saw the game out. After a slightly underwhelming summer we can all admit that in areas we do lack quality, but one thing we’ve proven so far is that we certainly do not lack fighting spirit.
Matt Ritchie’s magic
Ritchie’s energy and work rate epitomises everything this new Newcastle United side is about, but his quality on the ball continues to shine through. He played a huge part in both goals on Saturday, assisting both, and is another whose made a seamless step up from the Championship to the Premier League.
Atsu in inspired form
Several fans were far from convinced by the winger after last season, with many unsure about the prospect of signing him on a permanent deal for the Premier League. Five games in and it’s fair to say he’s looking like a phenomenal signing. His progress has been incredible, taking his fantastic pre-season form straight into the Premier League – a division he’s failed to ever make an impact in after unsuccessful spells at Chelsea, Everton and Bournemouth. His goal on Saturday was his first in the top flight and a well deserved moment for one of top performers thus far.