Out of form and in a funk, Newcastle United could have used one of two things: a solid defensive effort for a clean sheet, or a goal-filled victory.
Tonight they got both.
The injury-plagued Magpies wrapped up a 3-0 victory over equally struggling Wigan Athletic in front of a slow-arriving and somewhat subdued home crowd at St. James Park Monday night.
A big early penalty decision and sending off of Wigan defender Maynor Figueroa by referee Mike Jones set the tone for the night, as Newcastle converted the penalty to take the early lead and never looked back.
Demba Ba tucked in two to tie for the league lead in goals, and youngster Gael Bigirimana scored his milestone first Premier League goal in spectacular fashion. However, the night wasn't without its pains and groans for Magpie fans as both Davide Santon and Demba Ba left the game early with injuries.
It was a good effort all around for Newcastle, who now steer a bit further away from the relegation zone. Here are the top three players for Newcastle from tonight's match: