What was tremendously impressive, however, was not that they triumphed over the established names in the respective line-ups, but the manner in which they did.
On Wednesday, the performances of academy graduate Rolando Aarons and his replacement Sammy Ameobi, certainly alongside the imperious Stephen Taylor will have served as much encouragement for the United faithful and a much-needed confidence boost in and for Pardew personally, for so long under-fire and the victim of ire from supporters. City may have been devoid of a creative spark and languid in possession, but United made them pay dearly and overran their star names in midfield.
If this was not enough, they then contrived to claim yet another illustrious scalp, defeating last year’s runners-up Liverpool in front of a jubilant home crowd. Could this recent run of results set the tone for the season and prove a fillip that will see Newcastle strive towards finishing in the upper half of the table?
Indeed, this may well highly depend on the new crop of players coming through the ranks and if they can fulfil their potential by replicating the same performances against City and Liverpool and indeed, the latest result was in turn achieved by a solitary goal from 20-year-old Spaniard Ayoze Perez.
Based on current form, a strong case can be made for Aarons, Ameobi, Perez, Dummett and Haidara, all highly-rated by Pardew, forming the backbone of a rejuvenated Newcastle line-up capable of playing exciting football and holding their own against the best in the English top-flight.
Ayoze Perez, for instance, was the perfect solution to Newcastle’s striking woes especially with the departure of Remy to Chelsea. The former CD Tenerife attacker rubbed shoulders with Cristiano Ronaldo as he collected Breakthrough Player and Best Attacking Midfielder in the Spanish Segunda División during his tenure at the club in the 2013/14 season.
Snubbing purported interest from Europe’s elite which included Barcelona, Real Madrid and Porto, he opted to join the Magpies for a measly £1.5m- an absolute bargain for a player boasting an abundance of trickery and technical ability even though slightly deficient in term of physique. His credentials have also translated to match-winning performances, following up his winning debut goal at Tottenham with yet another winner against Liverpool. Still only 21, he has the potential to truly blossom into a top-class player with a healthy dose of first-team football, which can in turn only boost Newcastle’s cause.
For as long as Pardew chooses to base Newcastle’s attack on blistering counter-attacks, the contribution of Rolando Aarons will be instrumental. The midfielder ran Manchester City’s illustrious midfield ragged and has drawn comparisons, owing to appearance, playing style, attacking prowess and background, to Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling.
Many believe that an England call-up is only a matter of time especially on the back of a stellar performance for the U-20 squad against Romania. His great balance, blistering pace and tenacity has seen him surge through the Newcastle ranks into the first-team at the tender age of 18 and with endorsements from the likes of club legend Noberto Solano and Liverpool great Jamie Carragher, Aarons’ meteoric rise will only continue as he continues to be a revelation and a delight for the Newcastle faithful.
In contrast, 3 years since his graduation from the academy, Sammy Ameobi has yet to show signs of establishing himself as a mainstay in the Newcastle first team. That is, perhaps, until recently. Even more so with the departure of his brother Shola, the winger will look to make the family name his own especially on the back of a game-changing performance against Tottenham in which he blasted home a sensational drive within 6 seconds of coming on as a substitute.
Despite not having the same hype surrounding Ayoze and Aarons, he is still only 22 and has shown that he can be quick, composed and clinical when it matters and will be a vital component of the squad in the future, if not now.
Of and regarding the more youthful members of the Newcastle defence, although left-back Paul Dummett is perhaps more well-known for his tackle last season that well-nigh saw to Suarez missing out on participation in the World Cup this summer than anything, he proved his versatility in a makeshift central defensive role that shut out Manchester City. It is his willingness to feature in any position across the back four that may place him above Davide Santon in the pecking order.
That being said, he is as yet unproven and much doubt still lingers over whether he can grow to become an accomplished defender in the top-flight.
However, he would certainly face overwhelming competition in this regard from the young French left-back Massadio Haidara, who is far more assured in possession, quicker across the field and reportedly bases his play around renowned left-backs such as compatriot and former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra as well as Real Madrid’s Marcelo Viera and Gareth Bale (who of course evolved into a winger).
As a result, he can hold up the flanks as well as offer a competent attacking option whenever needed owing to his strength and drive on the ball.
As has been visible for the past few matches, Newcastle’s academy has managed to produce the best crop of players it has in a very long while and with a number of shrewd signings, Pardew has, regardless of whether by accident or through foresight, assembled a batch of young players of a respectable calibre, rearing to forge a name for themselves in the pantheon of European football.
However, whether they can add their names to the illustrious list of Newcastle greats, let alone ensure the Magpies manage to surpass their dubious performances from last season will ultimately hinge on both Pardew’s management of their talents and their own commitment to the cause.