Yes, you didn’t read that wrong! Newcastle United were on top form away at Loftus Road and knocked six goals past a stunned QPR side.
Goals from Aleksandar Mitrovic, Ayoze Perez, Ciaran Clark, Grant Hanley and two from Jonjo Shelvey gave the Magpies another convincing win – their fifth consecutive win in the league and five clean sheets in a row.
From the very start of the match United looked like the side we were promised at the start of the season, a side which would be tactically sound and show no mercy when attacking solid championship defences, and with Newcastle in an inspired form it was the London rivals which buckled under the pressure.
Week by week, Rafa Benitez’s men have cranked up the pressure and have demonstrated that they can turn up and perform to a high standard against some of the league’s biggest teams. Benitez will not allow this win to go to the player’s heads but they cannot go home not thinking that the perforce given last night cannot be repeated again.
On a night in which temperatures soared to 28 degrees over the course of the game United did not feel it and instead turned the heat up on league leaders Huddersfield.
The Magpies got off to a flyer during the first ten minutes of the match, no goals were scored but the intentions of Newcastle scoring a couple against QPR was clearly there.
It was the hero of Newcastle’s last game, Yoan Gouffran, who started off Benitez’s spectacular offensive. The Frenchman crossed the ball into Matt Ritchie who was waiting at the back post but it was wide.
Minutes later Perez’s constant pressure on Smithies goal forced a corner for United, the danger was originally cleared by QPR but the ball landed at the feet of Shelvey was fired at goal but it rolled over the line after being turned in by Ayoze Perez, in an offside position.
No goal. 0-0.
However, for the travelling faithful, which numbered nearly 3,000, there was no need to panic. As in the 12th minute of the game, Aleksandar Mitrovic pulled the ball back to a waiting Jonjo Shelvey who fired the ball straight towards goal and a deflection off Steven Caulker, wrong-footed Alex Smithies and lead to Newcastle’ first goal of the night.
This lead was doubled right on the half-hour mark after Scottish International Matt Ritchie, dubbed the ‘Scottish Messi’, ran at goal cutting the ball back to Perez who scored on his second attempt after his first effort was well saved by Smithies, but the Spaniard smashed his stake into the corner of the net. 2-0.
Newcastle continued to create further chances up until the half-time whistle. Aleksander Mitrovic, making his first league debut, had one shot deflected wide and a fine header well saved. United weren’t giving up and were eager to add another.
Newcastle went into the dressing room at half-time 2-0 up and their chests pushed out, QPR had work to do over the next 45 minutes.
Was happened over the next 45 minutes was a moment that many Newcastle fans will never forget.
You had to rush back to the radio if you wanted to catch United’s third goal of the game. It only took three minutes for Jonjo Shelvey to grab his second goal of the match – what a goal it was.
Stunning. Perez did well to hold the ball off inside QPR’s box and the laid it off Shelvey who made a run towards goal. The midfielder took a touch and then curled a strike from 30 yards out into the top right-hand corner of the goal. 3-0.
At this point, it was becoming a stroll for United. Sels and the back four looked disciplined and managed to keep their shaped all night even with a fee close calls. But before Newcastle allowed there to be a build-up in pressure they struck again.
In the 56th minute of the game defender, Ciaran Clark made it 4-0.
Matt Ritchie launched a corner ball right into the heart of QPR’s box and it left Smithies stunned, with the keeper staying motionless in his goal, Mitrovic made an attempt to get his head on the ball but instead it met the head of Clark who managed to score his first goal for the club.
With 35 minutes remaining it saw the much-anticipated entrance of Chelsea loanee Christian Atsu, and the subsequent exit of many QPR fans, who within minutes of making his Newcastle debut showed his worth.
Atsu made a quick and strong run at goal easily shaking off two QPR defenders out of his way, allowing him get a strong left-footed shot into the box, taking a deflection off Perez it rolled to the feet of Mitotic who had no difficulties in finishing it off, and claiming his first goal of the season. 5-0.
Then what seemed forever passed, 16 minutes in total, until the next goal for the Magpies which was widely anticipated.
The sixth was as easy as they come. Matt Ritchie was again fired in a solid corner ball, this time, it was cleared to Ciaran Clark, who knocked the ball straight back across the face of goal to Grant Hanley who calmly side-footed the ball into the back of the net. 6-0.
This empathetic win could have match Barcelona on the night, as they beat Celtic 7-0 in a Champions League clash after Atsu thundered a shot against the underbelly of Smithies bar in the dying moments of the game.
This 6-0 defeat for Hasselbaink’s men gave QPR their heaviest home loss in 15 years since their 6-0 defeat to Arsenal in an FA Cup tie back in 2001.
Those two early league defeats against Huddersfield and Fulham seem a long way off now and nothing like the form we are starting to show to now. To rub salt in a little more we are eventually scoring goals, something which I never thought I’d hear myself say, as we have 17 goals in six matches and have only conceded one.
That does feel good see written in black and white – Conceding only one goal in six matches.
The feeling is starting to grow on all of us. We are Newcastle United and we are going to win the league. We must get ahead of ourselves just yet but with performances like the one from last night, there is no harm in believing.