By Kristan Heneage
Throughout the summer we are reviewing the 2012/13 campaign, a season of highs and lows which saw Newcastle thrive in Europe but struggle domestically. The second weekly instalment covers October and November, when United continued to make good progress abroad but began to wobble in the league with a couple of costly home defeats...
The month began with a return to Europa League action, as Newcastle welcomed Bordeaux and future Magpie Yoan Gouffran to St. James' Park. Allowing Gabriel Obertan to face his former side, it was far from a vintage performance from the visitors as Newcastle ran out comfortable 3-0 winners. An early tap-in from Shola Ameobi broke the deadlock before an unfortunate own goal from Henrique doubled the advantage. Wrapping the game up just after half time, Papiss Cisse netted his first goal in the competition with an expert finish off the post.
"What pleased me most was that we played with verve and energy again and we looked more like ourselves from last year," Alan Pardew said afterwards.
Four days later and a far more menacing threat was making its way to Tyneside. Continuing their hunt for the Premier League title, Manchester United showed their class as they bested the Magpies 3-0. In a reversal of the midweek result, Tom Cleverley scored the pick of the bunch with a curling effort from distance.
It didn't get any easier for the club as their first away trip of the month saw them make the short, but difficult journey to Wearside to face Sunderland. Clad in the eye-catching fluorescent third kit, Pardew's side made the perfect start on three minutes when Demba Ba's shot rebounded into the path of Yohan Cabaye to stroke home.
Reduced to ten men when Cheick Tiote saw red midway through the first half, Newcastle provided a gritty and determined performance as Sunderland threw everything at them. Typified by captain Fabricio Coloccini, his world class performance at the heart of the defence was unfortunately not enough to earn the win as an own goal from Ba ensured both sides would share the spoils.
From near rivals to yet more European visitors, Newcastle were back home to entertain Belgian side Club Brugge just four days later. A stern test for the Magpies, a moment of Premier League quality from Sammy Ameobi saw the youngster's clever flick and burst of pace take him away from three opponents before he slid in Obertan to finish.
Seeking yet more home comforts, the month was rounded off by the visit of a former Magpie when Steve Clarke arrived on Tyneside with his West Bromwich Albion side. Earning the lead thanks to a wonderful volley from Ba, Romelu Lukaku showed why he is so highly rated with the equaliser just after half time.
Desperate for the victory, Cisse scored perhaps his strangest goal in black and white when Sammy Ameobi's drive in injury time skimmed off his back and wrong footed Ben Foster in the Gallowgate end goal
Goal of the month: Gabriel Obertan v Club Brugge
A wonderful team goal that highlighted just why Sammy Ameobi is so admired by the Club's coaching staff. A delightful interchange allowed the younger Ameobi to race into the Club Brugge half before he found the equally fleet-footed Gabriel Obertan. Still with a lot to do, Obertan composed himself before firing past a helpless goalkeeper.
A busy month saw the Club start their travels at Anfield. Burdened with a poor record when playing against Liverpool, Yohan Cabaye attempted to break that curse when he fired a sweet half-volley past Brad Jones in the first half. Still searching for their first away win, there was little Newcastle could do to stop Luis Suarez as he delightfully controlled Jose Enrique's long ball before rounding Tim Krul to pull Liverpool level and earn them a point.
Just as in their last Premier League away day, the Magpies finished the game with ten men after Fabricio Coloccini was adjudged to have fouled Suarez late on. However with his ban not applying to European competition, the Argentine international was clear to face a trip to Club Brugge the following Thursday.
Highlighting the strength and quality the Europa League attracts, two goals in five minutes gave the hosts a commanding lead, before a delightful volley from Vurnon Anita and a composed finish from Shola Ameobi saw the sides level at the half. Despite only being allocated around 2,600 tickets to the game, almost 5,000 passionate Magpies made the trip to Belgium, and were commended by manager Alan Pardew for their respectful attitude in Belgium.
Heading back to St. James' Park to face West Ham United that Sunday, there was a few familiar faces in the Hammers line-up, as both Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll returned to the club. With ex-defender Robbie Elliot also in attendance following the completion of his 'Bike for Bobby' charity campaign, friend became foe as Nolan's first half tap-in secured all three points for the visitors.
Afforded the chance to redress that poor result a week later when Michael Laudrup and Swansea arrived at St. James' Park, the Magpies were again unfortunately left with the sour taste of defeat. Earning an advantage when Michu headed home in the second half, Swansea's lead was doubled by Dutch midfielder Jonathan De Guzman, before Demba Ba clawed back a consolation goal for the home side.
Once again back on the European trail, Portuguese side C.S. Maritimo pitched up on Tyneside and gave the Magpies another tough test. Sylvain Marveaux had given Newcastle the lead with his first goal for the club, before Fidelis equalised late on amid wild celebrations from the pocket of passionate traveling support.
Next for Newcastle was a trip to the coast as Pardew returned to former club Southampton. With the home side desperate to pick up points in their battle against relegation, academy graduate Adam Lallana gave the Saints the lead, before summer signing Gaston Ramirez doubled their advantage on the hour mark and ensured Pardew had an unhappy return to St. Mary's.
Ending the month with a difficult trip to Stoke City and the Britannia Stadium, Newcastle produced a fantastic performance, that was rewarded early into the second period when Papiss Cisse latched onto Ba's rebound for a poachers finish.
Despite Pardew seeing what he described as an 'immense improvement' from their last away day, it wasn't enough for the Magpies, as late goals from Jonathan Walters and Cameron Jerome gave the home side the victory.
Goal of the Month: Vurnon Anita v Club Brugge
Raised in the esteemed Ajax academy, the diminutive Dutch international showed his class when he volleyed past Bojan Jorgačević from distance. His strike capped off what had been an impressive performance from Newcastle's £6.7m summer signing. Fulfilling a number of roles for Alan Pardew, Anita's versatility proved a key asset during his debut season in the Premier League.