Newcastle's success in the Premier League this season can be credited largely to goalkeeper Tim Krul, according to Aston Villa counterpart Shay Given.
Netherlands international Krul has been solid between the sticks for the Toon so far this term, producing a host of impressive displays and keeping nine league clean sheets.
His form has not gone unnoticed by former Magpies keeper Given, with the Tynesiders currently fifth in the Premier League and contenders for a European spot.
Given told Sky Sports Radio: "Tim is doing fantastic and I think that's one of the main reasons why they're flying so high in the league, because of Tim's form.
"He's been fantastic in every game really and he's saving so many points this season."
The Villa keeper feels Krul and Manchester City counterpart Joe Hart are two of the top shot-stoppers in the top-flight, but reserved praise for Swansea custodian Michel Vorm.
He added: "It would be hard to look past them, to be honest. Michel Vorm at Swansea would probably deserve a mention as well."
Given has hailed manager Alan Pardew for the job he is doing at St James' Park and is glad to see his former club proving the critics wrong.
"They've been unbelievable. Alan Pardew has done an amazing job up there and it's a great credit to him and all the staff and players," he said.
"People kept writing them off before a ball was even kicked and they've just proved everybody wrong, week in and week out.
"They're really on a high and they've had a bit of luck this year, which every team needs."