It’s the morning after the night before and Newcastle United fans will know they witnessed something quite special against Arsenal.
On paper, it was a ‘dead’ game. The Magpies had nothing to play for, except beat last season’s points total - but try telling that to the St James’ Park crowd.
In front of the TV cameras, Newcastle United, inspired by the superb Wor Flags, once again showed the world what the club is all about as an own goal from Ben White and a strike from Bruno Guimaraes sealed a 2-0 victory.
Here’s our writer Jordan Cronin’s five talking points from an incredible evening on Tyneside.
Take a bow, Wor Flags
How about that, eh? That really was the best display yet, and that’s quite a remarkable achievement given how high Wor Flags have set the bar this season.
Personally, I’m not sure if there has been a greater spectacle in world football with around 49,000 seats covered in flags or foil to create something never seen before.
In the Gallowgate End, unity was the message as a banner showing one of United’s popular dressing room photos - including everyone from owners, staff and players - with Newcastle United Football Club either side.
Gold foil in the East Stand spelled out ‘United’. And another look to your left from the Milburn Stand, you’ll have seen the famous Blue Star that adorned Newcastle shirts back in the day.
A group of volunteers, who come together through their love for Newcastle United, once again sent out a message to the world - this is a sleeping giant that has very much awoken.
Bruno Guimaraes shows Arsenal what they could have won
A penny for Mikel Arteta’s thoughts as he watched Bruno Guimaraes run the midfield show against his sorry side.
The Gunners had watched the Brazilian extensively at Lyon and had been touted as his Premier League destination until Newcastle jumped ahead of the queue in January.
In a midfield that consisted of Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny, Guimaraes, based on the evidence we saw last night and since his £35million arrival, is levels above.
Newcastle fans are all too aware of his endless qualities as he showed Arsenal exactly what they’ve missed out on with his outstanding performance, fittingly capped off with an 85th-minute goal.
It was no wonder the home supporters mocked the visitors as they chanted “Bruno turned you down”. Certainly, Guimaraes knows he has made the right choice in joining the Magpies.
Already, he is a fans’ favourite and last night, it felt like the team in black and white was going for the Champions League spots, not Arsenal.
That, surely, is a good omen for next season, with United currently sitting third behind Liverpool and based on 2022 form alone with 35 points from 18 games.
Oh Callum Wilson, how Newcastle have missed you
Because Wilson had been out for so long - four months in total - you almost forget how good he actually is. The 30-year-old, when fit and firing, is one of England’s best strikers - as proven against Arsenal.
For the excellent contribution Chris Wood has made since joining from Burnley in January, when Wilson is available, sadly, the New Zealander doesn’t get a look in because Wilson offers you so much more.
It’s quite impressive how sharp Wilson, stand-in skipper for the evening, looks. Fighting back from a serious calf injury, you wouldn’t have thought that was his first start since December. Against Arsenal, he was simply unplayable.
Arsenal’s centre-back pairing of Ben White and Gabriel could not live with Wilson’s aggression, desire to run in behind and pace - all three of those traits came into play when White could only put the ball into his own net to stop the former Bournemouth star from opening the scoring himself from Joelinton’s cross.
In many ways, it was a warrior-like display from Newcaste’s number nine after playing on, despite having his tooth knocked out midway through the first-half.
The only thing you can ever question about Wilson is his injury record. But if he can remain injury-free, then whichever striker United sign in the summer, could ultimately play second fiddle.
What next for Matt Targett?
As the Newcastle players and their families embarked on a lap of honour at full-time before taking in the special scenes in front of the Gallowgate you know, for some, that will be their last time at St James’ Park in Toon colours.
Could that be the case for Matt Targett? From our view point in the press box, there might have been a subtle goodbye in there as he waved towards the Strawberry Corner as they chanted “there is only one Matty Targett”.
Targett wants to stay. Even Guimaraes wants the left-back to stay as he interrupted the 26-year-old’s interview with NUFCTV at full-time and yelled “he needs to stay!”
The Magpies have a £15million option to sign him permanently but no decision has been made yet. And interestingly, United have been strongly linked with Atletico Madrid’s Renan Lodi in recent weeks.
Whatever happens, Targett’s efforts in helping keep Newcastle in the Premier League will always be remembered.
It’s been one hell of a journey this season
You couldn’t have envisaged ending the season like that, especially given Newcastle started the campaign with Ashley as owner and with no wins from their opening 14 Premier League matches.
Cast your mind back to the defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers in October, that was the lowest many have felt. It was almost like a stark realisation that the club was only going one way - and that was to the Championship.
But Ashley is history, and it’s all about the present, the future. Hope, ambition, unity, passion - you name it, have been restored through the new owners and Howe.
That was one of the special nights at St James’ Park and at times was the loudest it’s been in a long time, if not ever since the millennium.
Excitingly, this is just the start. Now, onto Burnley before a busy summer commences.