Newcastle United - an outside shot for the top four?

After 17 Premier league games, Newcastle sit above Manchester United and Tottenham - and are just three points off the top four.

If Manchester City had won six of their last eight league games, people would be talking about a title challenge.

In fact, they are...

But City are not the only form team in the Premier League.

Indeed, Newcastle have managed exactly the same record and now sit just three points off the Champions League places as a result. What a run.

Alan Pardew's side are not even out of the title race as things stand - they are only six points off top spot.

And there is no reason why the Magpies' brilliant season should not continue.

Yesterday's 3-0 win at Crystal Palace was another feather in Pardew's cap. A side that had won two games straight and then given Chelsea a run for their money was dispatched with considerable ease.

Yohan Cabaye starred once again, while Hatem Ben Arfa also found the scoresheet for Newcastle - and now the top five teams in the league are well within the Magpies' sights.

Pardew's men almost made the Champions League only two seasons ago, so they certainly have the team, the stature and the support to give the top four a run for their money.

Their only problem last term was the distraction of the Europa League, which stretched their squad beyond reasonable expectations.

Now that Newcastle have crossed that bridge and buried significant water under it, the Premier League is theirs to take by storm.

Not only do Cabaye and Ben Arfa represent their quality, however, but Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran, Loic Remy and more demonstrate a squad that, on its day, could challenge top sides across Europe.

And in Fabricio Coloccini, Mathieu Debuchy, Mike Williamson and more, the Magpies also have a solid defensive unit that can keep out some of Britain's finest strikers.

Be warned, then, that Newcastle's form is no fluke. Six wins in eight could very well turn into an extended run of form. And then Pardew's side will really be an outside shot for the top four.

image: © mikebrown59

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