Perez needs a partner
It was yet another good day for Newcastle United yesterday, with almost too many positives to mention. After their miserable start to the Premier League season, Newcastle now can't buy a bad performance - not that they'd ever want to.
But it was telling that the Magpies only scored against Queens Park Rangers once Papiss Cisse had come on. Not because Cisse was instrumental to the goal but because Alan Pardew's side yet again looked better with two up top.
Ayoze Perez has been in sublime form lately and was far from disappointing against QPR on Saturday afternoon. Against tight defences, though, especially at home, Perez looks as though he needs a partner up top to get the best out of him.
Pardew was right about Cabaye & Sissoko
Match-winner Moussa Sissoko, however, looks as though he can perform under any circumstances. And boss Pardew was absolutely right about the Frenchman.
Earlier this week, the Newcastle manager singled out where Sissoko differs from Yohan Cabaye. Former Toon midfielder Cabaye would never score goals like Sissoko, he said, in terms of making surging runs into the box from deep.
You can't argue with the 53-year-old there and the powerhouse midfielder proved Pardew right once again at St James' Park yesterday afternoon.
Scare for Taylor
More good news for the Magpies is that midfielder Ryan Taylor only came off as a precaution against QPR, although the injury scare shows that it is still a long way back for the 30-year-old.
Taylor looked very lively indeed and almost scored a fairytale goal during his first Premier League start since March 2012. But the fact that he had to go off before half-time should remind Newcastle fans - and the man himself - that the utmost caution is still needed.
Champions League football...
Before Manchester United beat Arsenal last night, Newcastle were actually fourth in the Premier League table. Who could have foreseen that when the Magpies were in the relegation zone?
Naturally, no one should get carried away on Tyneside but this Newcastle side should not be afraid to admit they can challenge the top six - especially on current form.
If Pardew's recent track record is anything to go by, there will be another dour winless run somewhere down the line. But this side have shown they are clearly capable of beating anyone who isn't at the top of their game.
And a key reason behind Newcastle's recent run is their defensive record. The Magpies still don't score bucketloads but have kept four clean sheets during their last five Premier League games.
If you include their Capital One Cup win over Manchester City, that's five clean sheets in six games. Against QPR, centre-backs Paul Dummett and Mike Williamson were integral to that defensive solidity, while Jack Colback is an amazing protector of his back four.