ONSIDE: Newcastle United not out of relegation mire just yet

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ONLY Newcastle United can do this to you.

A fortnight ago they were rightly booed off the pitch after a tame second half surrender to the might of Reading.

On Saturday they served up one of their most memorable displays of recent years to defeat European champions Chelsea 3-2.

A performance up there with the second-half recovery from four down against Arsenal exactly two years ago and the 5-1 demolition of them down the road the same season.

Were I a Norwegian football commentator then I would be delving further back in time and quoting Tino Asprilla’s hat-trick against Barcelona and even David Kelly’s 1992 lifesaver against Portsmouth.

But let’s us not get carried away just yet.

The neighbours defeated domestic champions Manchester City on Boxing Day before promptly losing their next two league games.

They have also just taken a disappointing one point from six after two successive wins of their own in January.

With Tottenham away coming up this Saturday, it cannot be said that Newcastle are out of the relegation mire just yet.

But there does appear to be an upward momentum at the club that was sadly lacking before Christmas.

Were they lucky on Saturday?

Well if old boy Demba Ba had been taken out by a curly-haired opponent while wearing a Newcastle top then I too would have been screaming for a red card.

Come to think of it I was in the corresponding fixture last season when Chelsea’s David Luiz felled Ba out as he steamed through on goal after five only minutes of the visitors’ 3-0 victory.

Luiz escaped then just as Fabricio Coloccini did on Saturday.

A footballing case of what goes around, comes around.

In truth, not only were Newcastle the better team on Saturday, they were the only team.

Chelsea relied on wonderful individual efforts to put them ahead in the second half before noticably wilting after the immense Moussa Sissoko’s equaliser.

Their players appear to already feel that interim boss Rafa Benetiz is a dead man walking and are perhaps gearing up for his replacement.

As one abrupt London stereotype told me before the match, the system of repeatedly changing managers works at Chelsea because they have won more trophies in the last decade than they have had managers.

It is just a shame that such a policy does not work everywhere.

– GAVIN LEDWITH

@GLedwithHMail