Eight games unbeaten. Seven points above the Premier League zone. Newcastle United are one of the most in-form teams in England right now.
Eddie Howe’s side marched closer towards top-flight survival with a 2-1 win against Brighton and Hove Albion at St James’ Park on Saturday afternoon.
Goals from Ryan Fraser and Fabian Schar inside the opening 15 minutes were enough, despite Lewis Dunk halving the deficit early in the second-half.
With 12 games remaining, it looks to be a case of when - rather than if - the Magpies will officially avoid relegation.
Here, our NewcastleWorld writer Jordan Cronin provides his analysis from the victory at St James’ Park:
Magnificent Wor Flags
The outstanding work of Wor Flags epitomizes just how special it is to be at St James’ Park right now.
The place oozes passion, excitement - anything positive you can think of - and the flag display is one huge way to get the pulses racing.
Against Brighton, it was the biggest display to date and it did not dip below anyone’s expectation. Once again, it was spine-tingling.
With the usual flags switched to the East Stand for the first time, the Gallowgate End and Leazes End were covered in coloured foil that read “NUFC” and “Howay the Lads”.
There was also a ‘United with Ukraine’ flag as both sets of teams took part in a pre-match minutes applause.
No one can understate the impact Wor Flags is having on Howe and his players. United’s surge away from the relegation zone really is a collective effort.
Brighton dominant - but clinical United come through
Brighton were absolutely shellshocked at being 2-0 down inside the opening 15 minutes at St James’ Park - and rightly so.
Quite easily, Graham Potter’s side could have inflicted the same on Newcastle with Shane Duffy and Danny Welbeck going incredibly close from two set-piece deliveries.
It was clear Albion planned to overload the Magpies in the wide areas but with that left gaps, which the Howe’s men soon exploited.
A turn from Chris Wood in the midfield and a ball in behind to Jacob Murphy seen United take the lead through Ryan Fraser totally against the run of play.
So, when Fabian Schar added a second three minutes later, the whole stadium was pleasantly stunned.
Even at 2-0, there was never any time to get comfortable. Brighton remained a threat and Dunk’s goal on 55 minutes made it a nervy finish.
But for all of the visitors’ 68% possession, both same sides still have the same number of shots on target (4).
Chris Wood’s best game in a Newcastle shirt
Out of Newcastle’s five January signings, it’s Wood that has received the least amount of praise.
Kieran Trippier’s impact was obvious, Dan Burn and Matt Targett look like they’ve played together for years and Bruno Guimaraes’s arrival brought an immediate hype.
Strikers will always be judged on goals. Wood, of course, is yet to find the net in his opening seven matches.
But can we all appreciate his selfless performances? Howe described his Brighton display as “magnificent” and it’s hard to disagree.
It was his clever work that created the opener, while throughout the afternoon he battled Dunk and Duffy - linking up and relieving the pressure on his teammates.
Wood played an equally important part in his own box too. As Brighton threatened time and time again from set-pieces, he was there to head away.
The 30-year-old’s contribution was outstanding and for that, it was his best game in a Newcastle shirt. Surely a first goal is just around the corner to silence his critics.
Big Dan Burn
After being linked with the likes of Lille’s Sven Botman and Sevilla’s Diego Carlos, the arrival of Burn might have felt a little underwhelming to some.
But that can no way be the case now. It’s now looking like Burn should have been the club’s top defensive target all along.
Since Burn made his debut against Aston Villa last month, only two goals have been shipped with the Magpies collecting 10 points from a possible 12.
Is it a coincidence that in the same period, Brighton have failed to pick up a single point, conceding nine goals?
Burn, along with Matt Targett, has been integral to Newcastle’s new-found resilience at the back. Let’s remember, this was a team that conceded a record-breaking 80 goals in 2021.
The Blyth-born defender made a series of blocks, tackles and headers to ensure his former employers left Tyneside empty-handed.
Brighton didn’t want the 29-year-old to leave and for £13million, he’s already been a bargain for United.
Bruno Guimaraes - the coolest man on Tyneside
Similar to Brentford, Bruno was introduced from the bench - this time with 11 minutes to go - to gain a bit of control in midfield.
Brighton were pushing for an equaliser and Bruno certainly added an air of calmness, even though he gave everyone a major heart in a mouth moment.
In his own 18-yard box, deep into injury time, the Brazilian took that calmness to the next level by attempting a pirouette with three Brighton attackers around him.
Supporters were screaming for the 24-year-old to hoof it clear. Howe watched on in anguish on the touchline. So, you could hear the relief when he won a free-kick.
To show such composure in your own penalty box is perhaps the sign of a world-class player.
Forgive Newcastle fans for not being used to witnessing that after 14 years of neglect under the previous owner.
His fine vision was also on display as he fed a couple of balls through to Allan Saint-Maximin.
With three away games in seven games now to come - starting with Southampton on Thursday, Bruno’s first start is just around the corner.