Rafa’s mags are now good enough to win games without Rafa. So with the great man back in the dugout this weekend and most of the lads back from injury to the point where he will have some real decisions to make in the line-up, it’s hard to look past a third win on the bounce.

This is something that has rarely happened at NUFC under Ashley. The last time we picked up a third PL win in a row, Alan Pardew was on another mental November hot streak, Ayoze Perez was the next Lionel Messi and Louis Van Gaal had the most expensive Man Utd squad ever assembled in a respectable 9th in the league.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this is a banana skin waiting to happen. It would be so Newcastle United to kill the momentum when everything was looking positive again. I choose to see it differently. We have Rafa and with a team that everybody expects to struggle, we’ve played 5 games this season and looked capable of winning any one of them. Meanwhile the mackems and vile both teeter above the relegation zone of the second division and look utterly hopeless. Am I wrong to think that things may finally be coming together for us?

This weekend we will hit the magic three in a row again if we put in the same graft we have in every game so far. Rafa is back so it’s just so hard to see anything less than another strong, committed performance and three points. The real interest here is how we get that win. We, suddenly have competition for places for the first time since Seydou Doumbia couldn’t get in the side.

Seriously though, we have Lejeune and Yedlin back fit, yet it’s a tough call to break up a defence that’s only conceded 1 goal in 3 games. After twenty minutes against Spurs he is definitely the best defender we’ve ever had and yet we know Rafa rewards loyalty and form. We may yet have to wait a little longer to see him again.

Shelvey didn’t get on at Swansea and rightly so. Mikel Merino does sexy football like Ruud Gullit could only dream. He’s fucking brilliant. Atsu was rested after being on international duty last week but will surely come back into the side which leaves Ritchie and Murphy fighting for the other wing. Ritchie will no doubt start but I look forward to seeing Murphy develop as he has shown signs. A great option to have off the bench.

Up top we also have the headache of Dwight Gayle who should be fully fit. Yet he is being kept on the bench by the new lad who couldn’t get into Mark Hughes’ side. He is also fucking brilliant. More than anything because of the impact he has on the other lads. He’s been tremendous at bringing our attacking players into the game, not least Ritchie and Perez. Joselu ha got more out of Ayoze Perez in two games than Mitro has in two seasons.

To sum up, despite the cloud left over St James’ Park left by the transfer window, things are looking less than bleak. This one is just another step on the road to Rafa’s Mags in the Champions league!

2-0 to Rafa’s Mags

Simon Campbell