Newcastle: David Jones says Magpies have big physical presence
Newcastle have swapped panache for power, says David Jones, and are reaping the rewards.
Last Updated: 28/11/13 4:08pm
They are the form team of the Premier League, chasing their fourth straight win live on Saturday Night Football against West Brom.
They've seen off Chelsea, Tottenham and now Norwich on a run that surpassed any they achieved throughout last season.
Where goals were once a problem they've now scored in their last 10 games and in Loic Remy they possess one of the hottest strikers in Europe.
So is this what we should expect of Alan Pardew's team, who finished fifth two seasons ago, or are they achieving success beyond all probability given they scraped home fifth bottom in May?
I suspect the answer lies somewhere in between but Albion's visit to St James Park will tell us much.
A fourth win on the bounce could see Newcastle climb into the top four and what a turnaround that would be following their derby defeat last month.
It seems - deliberately or otherwise - that Pardew has stumbled upon a winning formula.
Mike Williamson has been restored to a rearguard that was crying out for a committed defender; with Papiss Cisse short of goals, Shola Ameobi has given the forward line a physical presence which has seen Remy flourish; and the skill of Hatem Ben Arfa has been sacrificed for the enthusiasm of Youan Gouffran.
In essence the support acts have outperformed the stars and on the pitch Newcastle truly are looking a United team.
They will, though, find the Baggies stubborn opponents, hurt by their failure to see off Aston Villa on Monday night.
Steve Clarke's team have one win from their last six but only a Sturridge and Suarez-inspired Liverpool have beaten them in their last nine games.
And for all the plaudits heading towards Tyneside, they look two very well matched sides and bizarrely both teams have scored in their last eight meetings.
A draw seems the logical conclusion but if Newcastle win the Toon Army really will start to believe, and so should we.