Another encouraging afternoon for Magpies

Posted by Lee Ryder

Loic Remy fires Newcastle into an early lead against Newcastle.GettyImagesLoic Remy fired Newcastle into an early lead against Norwich City.

It may have been a nail-biting finale at St James' Park for the Toon Army against Norwich City -- but a quick look at the Premier League table after Newcastle's 2-1 victory makes it all worth it.

The Magpies started out with their A-game against Norwich City. They underlined their intentions with two early corners, but there were plenty of satisfied faces when Newcastle finally bagged from a flag kick on two minutes. Yohan Cabaye whipped in from the Gallowgate End and Loic Remy applied the finish.

- Davitt: Norwich's defensive charity

Yoan Gouffran added goal No. 2 before the break, and in reality it could have been game over had Moussa Sissoko gobbled up a great chance. It was a first half many had assumed or expected in many ways.

But given Newcastle's habit of shooting themselves in the foot, perhaps we should have expected the second-half performance.

Indeed, Norwich roared back as Chris Hughton's side showed character. Leroy Fer made it uncomfortable with a late goal.

Yet it proved to be nothing more than a consolation. United deserved their win, which pushed them into the top eight. Amazingly, United are now ahead of moneybags Manchester City in a season that promises to get better. West Brom are the visitors next weekend and four wins on the spin could put United into the top six.

With Cabaye sparkling through his first hour and Remy showing his class once again, there is genuine reason to believe that a European place can be achievable for the Magpies. Getting carried away?

Well, not really. This side is packed with internationals who are heading to the World Cup.

So why not? Especially if owner Mike Ashley can produce some funds in January for manager Alan Pardew to invest. Should he come up with the goods, it could be a season to remember.

Yet United must continue to serve up what they did in the first half against Norwich. They attacked with real intent and took their chances. What they need to stamp out are the negatives of the second period, such as failing to kill a game off and taking their foot off the gas. Yes, there is room for improvement.

However, with 50 percent of their safety total in the bank and a decent run of fixtures coming up, there is potential for things to snowball. And Pardew knows that better than anybody.

For now, let's just enjoy the moment.

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