Demba Ba and Leon Best Enjoying a Great Partnership Up-Front For Newcastle United
The surprise team in the Premier League this season, after holding Tottenham Hotspur to a 2-2 draw, Newcastle United can continue to be mentioned in the same breath as Manchester United and Manchester City.
They're the only team in the top flight, barring the Manchester clubs, who remain unbeaten after the opening eight games, with the ridiculous amounts of hard work manager Alan Pardew does on the training ground paying off on the pitch.
Here are five reasons why you should keep an eye on Newcastle United this season.
Signed from West Ham United in the summer, Demba Ba has continued the form that saw him coveted by all the major teams in the Premier League.
Having scored seven league goals in 12 games for West Ham, Ba has scored five in five starts for Newcastle United this season.
He's scored an incredible 12 goals in 19 matches in less than a year of playing in the Premier League, and is currently one of the most efficient strikers in the top flight, scoring once every three shots he has on goal.
His importance to the Toon is huge, especially considering with his five goals and one assist, he's made a 55 percent direct goalscoring contribution to the team this campaign, meaning he's been responsible for more than half their goals.
Ba has developed a great understanding with strike-partner Leon Best so far this term, and is definitely one big reason why you should keep tabs on Newcastle's progress this season.
Alan Pardew has got his Newcastle United side playing with a ruthless efficiency that would give Stoke City a big run for their money.
However, Pardew has gone one better than his Stoke counterpart Tony Pulis, as his side sit fourth in the Premier League, having scored 11 goals and conceded just six.
Better than that, Pardew's men have scored 10 percent of the total shots they have on goal.
To put it this way, Chelsea have scored just seven percent of total shots, Manchester City six percent, and Manchester United five percent.
They're more efficient than all the teams above them, and are one of the top five most efficient teams in the league.
There may be a bit of a French influx at Newcastle United right now, but one thing they're doing, and doing well, is playing in the good, old-fashioned English way.
Alan Pardew has set his team up in a 4-4-2 formation, with wingers Gabriel Obertan and Jonas Gutierrez taking on their full-backs in a race to the byline before crossing in for the big man, Demba Ba, to head in.
It's proven by their statistics, with Newcastle attacking down the flanks 69 percent of the time.
The Toon also have the trademark tough-tackling midfielders in Chieck Tiote and Yohan Cabaye, who have both made more tackles than any of their teammates, and have been key to Newcastle conceding just six goals in the league this season.
Add to that a four-man defence consisting of three Englishman, including a big bruiser of a centre-half in Steven Taylor, which has conceded the joint least amount of goals this term, and it's clear that Pardew's throwback to the 90's style of football in England is paying dividends.
After Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton left Newcastle United, many were wondering how the Toon would survive.
As it turns out, their departures could be blessings in disguise, as Cheick Tiote and Yohan Cabaye have formed a new and improved midfield partnership for Newcastle in the middle.
The two French-speaking guys seem to have a great understanding in central midfield, and because both have the same playing style, i.e. tough-tackling midfielders with an eye for a pass and a chance on goal, it has allowed the Toon's attackers to flourish and given the defence protection.
They've both done well this season, topping the team charts for tackles won, and have both got an assist this season, as well as above-80 percent pass success rates.
As the season goes on and both players learn more about each other and their individual styles, this partnership could blossom into one of the best, not just in the Premier League, but in all of Europe.
If you needed any more convincing to keep tabs on Newcastle United this season, the fact they're unbeaten should surely be enough.
It's their best run of form in decades, and it'll be fascinating to see how long they can keep it up.
To read about the success behind Newcastle's flying start to the campaign, click here.