How could Alan Pardew’s men perform with such determination against genuine title challengers, yet surrender to the Premier League’s bottom club and lose just six days earlier?
It’s the kind of query that has surfaced on a regular basis at St. James’ Park and highlights the bewilderment felt by many of the Magpies’ followers.
And a quick glance at the Toon’s 10 top-flight games this season underlines the kind of inconsistencies that have pleased and frustrated in equal measure.
Premier League unpredictability this year is crazy: Newcastle loses last week to last-place Sunderland, about to beat Chelsea this week.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) November 2, 2013
In the first half at Goodison Park, Pardew’s men were all at sea, crumbling spectacularly and finding themselves three goals down at the break.
By the end of the match, however, they had rallied and were unlucky not to leave Merseyside with a point in a fixture that ended 3-2 to the Toffees.
What was proved by Saturday’s triumph over Chelsea is that Newcastle have the quality to compete with the best that England has to offer. But they must curb their irrational tendencies.
In a squad packed with internationals, there’s no reason why their current top-10 placing can’t be consolidated, and Pardew must find a formula that encourages dependability.
Such fixtures have brought no guarantees in the past, but if stability is what Pardew and Co crave, then the Toon must end November with performances to match that desire.