Following a relentless run of form, Newcastle United head into the World Cup in the top four and guaranteed to be third on Christmas day.
We are 10 games unbeaten, have won each of our last five games and seven of our last eight, but there’s one early-season stat that makes our position in the table all the more incredible.
It’s easily forgotten, but the fact we are third seems all the more amazing when you consider we went SIX games without a win after that opening day victory over Nottingham Forest.
Following that sunny day at St James’ Park, we went on a frustrating run that saw us fail to beat the likes of Brighton, Wolves, Crystal Palace and Bournemouth.
Fast forward a few months, we are just two points behind Man City, sit eight ahead of Liverpool – who were fortunate to beat us – nine clear of Chelsea, have lost just once, boast the best defence in the Premier League and are the league’s fourth top scorers.
We could’ve had more points, if anything. OK, we were outplayed in that 0-0 at Brighton, but we were 3-1 up against Man City, Liverpool’s 98th minute winner was a farce, VAR cost us dearly in the Crystal Palace draw and we created enough to beat Bournemouth in that 1-1 draw on Tyneside.
The World Cup break has come at a bad time, but it’s a good time to remember how far we’ve come after turning what threatened to be a slow start to the season into an absolutely stunning one.