IF ever there was a week which summed up the emotional rollercoaster that is Newcastle United then this was it.
First of all they lose to their neighbours after failing to turn their second-half domination into clear-cut chances.
Then they create and miss those chances against Manchester City before bowing out of the Captial One Cup in extra time.
Finally they ride their own luck a la Sunderland before upping their game after the interval and deservedly beating Chelsea.
A display which prompted one wag to proclaim that if only Newcastle had overcome both Hull and Sunderland then they would have been challenging for the Champions League.
The fact is, however, that Newcastle United are far from a Champions League side.
Nor though are they relegation fodder.
At best they are a top 10 side capable of both nicking points from the Premier League’s elite and tamely surrendering to dross.
They could even win at Tottenham Hotspur this weekend before keeping former boss Chris Hughton in his current job when Norwich City arrive at St James’s Park after the international break.
Given the porous nature of Newcastle’s defence, you wonder whether Spurs will shed their cautious approach and batter the visitors from the outset this Sunday.
Three times now in five away games the Magpies have set up a defensive stall from the off.
Three times now in five away games they have found themselves 1-0 down by the sixth minute.
The two remaining matches at Aston Villa and Cardiff City delivered six points after they had the courage to immediately attack their hosts.
I accept that a cautious first-half approach worked on Saturday against Chelsea.
But that was a home side pretending to be an away team against an away team.
Three thousand visiting fans tucked up in Level 7 of the Milburn Stand do not make as much noise as an apparently restless White Hart Lane and the onus will be on Andre Villas-Boas’s team to go for the jugular early doors.
The first three months of this season indicate that relying on their defensive capabilities is not a viable option for Alan Pardew’s side.
So they might as well go at their hosts from the start.
– GAVIN LEDWITH