Well, Newcastle United have now delivered two huge victories inside the space of five days - and suddenly find themselves 11 points clear of third place in the table.
In another incident-filled match, Rafa Benitez’s side defeated David Wagner’s Huddersfield Town 3-1 to increase their advantage at the summit of the table to five points.
Now we all know that Matt Ritchie won and then converted a questionable penalty, before Daryl Murphy scored following a mistake from Danny Ward.
And then you’ll all have seen how Aaron Mooy pulled one back for the Terriers from the spot after Jonjo Shelvey was harshly adjudged to have committed a foul.
And who could have missed substitute goalkeeper Joel Coleman’s clanger which led to Dwight Gayle netting his 21st goal of the season?
But in another action-packed United game, you may not have picked up on all of the following incidents.
The Newcastle boss always looks immaculately dressed on the touchline in his three-piece suit, and started the match at Huddersfield in just that. However, as the rain began to pour down in West Yorkshire, Benitez returned to the dugout after 20 minutes and then headed back out into his technical area with a coat on.
A rugby-league pitch for a professional football match
The state of the playing surface was anything but conducive to Huddersfield’s high-press football, and that benefitted Newcastle. Huddersfield Giants, the rugby-league club, had a match at the John Smith’s Stadium as recently as last Thursday, and the pitch cut up as a result - and there were large patches without grass.
Huddersfield fans certainly didn’t rate the referee...
Newcastle supporters - and Benitez himself - will point to the awful officiating decisions they have been on the end of this term, and there were yet more controversial calls in this game. Neither sides’ penalties looked clear cut, and the Terriers were adamant United’s second goal shouldn’t have stood either. In fact, some Huddersfield fans near the Press box were so incensed by Roger East’s performance that they claimed he “couldn’t wait to give” United’s spot-kick - and was “desperate” for the Magpies to win the game.
A temporary switch in formation
When Yoan Gouffran replaced Jack Colback after 72 minutes, Benitez temporarily opted to switch from his favoured 4-2-3-1 system to more of a 4-4-2. Gouffran partnered Gayle up front, with Mo Diame joining Shelvey in a central-midfield role - and it worked.
United’s ruthless efficiency
The stats may show that Huddersfield had 76-per-cent possession to Newcastle’s 24 and that the home side had 16 shots to United’s six, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Five of the Magpies’ six efforts were on target, and United looked dangerous every time they attacked. Huddersfield, meanwhile, only managed to get six of their 16 efforts on target, and most of those were from long distance. Newcastle’s gameplan worked perfectly, and they thoroughly deserved the victory.
Wagner cuts a frustrated figure in the stands
The Huddersfield boss was serving the second game of his touchline ban after clashing with Leeds United manager Garry Monk last month, and the German could only watch on from his seat in the directors’ box as Benitez’s Magpies tactically out-thought his Terriers.
A couple of handballs - one blatant, and one not so obvious
Vurnon Anita got himself a booking just before half-time for a blatant handball when, after Raijv van La Parra had skipped past him, the United full-back fell to the ground and merely flung out an arm to bat the ball away. Shelvey also appeared to handle the ball in the build-up to Newcastle’s penalty - albeit inadvertently - and that led to Nakhi Wells diving in on Ritchie.
Every single Newcastle outfield player celebrates the goals
When Ritchie slammed home the spot-kick, and when Murphy squeezed the ball in from a tight angle, and then when Gayle nodded into an empty net, every single Newcastle outfield player celebrated. They ran over to the travelling Toon Army for the first two, and to the far corner for the final strike. That really does display togetherness.
Gayle’s vital defensive challenge - and change of boots
Not only did the striker help himself to his 21st goal of the campaign during his 24-minute cameo off the bench, Gayle also rushed over to the touchline in the 75th minute to change his boots, and receive further instructions from Benitez. But Gayle’s goal was not his only vital contribution - he made a couple of excellent defensive challenges too. This was very much a team effort in West Yorkshire.