By Tom Easterby
We continue our review of the 2013/14 campaign, which saw Newcastle finish tenth in the Barclays Premier League. This week's instalment covers December and January, which saw an historic win at Old Trafford as well as five goals scored on Boxing Day...
Coming off the back of four successive wins, United travelled to South Wales to face Swansea to kick-off the traditionally hectic festive schedule.
The Magpies' impressive run of form, though, came to an abrupt halt. Goals from Nathan Dyer and Jonjo Shelvey, either side of Mathieu Debuchy putting through his own net, saw Newcastle concede a trio for the first time since September's defeat at Everton and go down 3-0 in the process.
That weekend, however, Alan Pardew and his side got back to winning ways in style. A trip to Old Trafford to play Manchester United, which was made no less daunting by the fact that the Magpies hadn't won at the famous old ground since February 1972 - some 41 years earlier.
With David Moyes' side languishing in the upper-mid table area and looking some way off mounting a title challenge, Newcastle, and Yohan Cabaye in particular, took advantage.
His compatriot Moussa Sissoko got the better of another Frenchman, Patrice Evra, down the right and squared for the classy Cabaye, who arrived in the box at the perfect time to sweep past David de Gea, giving the 3,000-strong travelling Toon Army their first taste of victory in the red half of Manchester in 33 attempts.
That brilliant result away from home was followed by an encouraging 1-1 draw with Southampton back at St. James' Park, where Jay Rodriguez levelled for the Saints after Yoan Gouffran's opener.
In amongst the rigour of a hard-fought top-flight game, supporters were provided with some light relief when Sissoko accidently slapped referee Mike Jones in the face during a stoppage in play, with the official's fall being greeted with laughter from the terraces.
United's final pre-Christmas fixture saw them take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on 21st December.
A thumping 5-1 home win over Stoke City followed on Boxing Day, with Loic Remy equalising on the stroke of half-time after on-loan Liverpool winger Oussama Assaidi had put the Potters in front.
A barrage of goals after the break, though, sealed it for Newcastle. Gouffran got the second, and further efforts from Remy, Cabaye and Papiss Cisse racked up their first five-goal spree of the campaign and a first since the 5-0 rout of West Ham in January 2011.
The four-game unbeaten run, which had garnered nine points from 12, came to an end at the hands of Arsenal as Olivier Giroud brought the curtain down on 2013 with a header to keep his team in the chase for a Champions League place.
Goal of the month
Yohan Cabaye earns another gong this month for his perfectly-placed winner at the home of the then-Barclays Premier League champions.
Though perhaps not the force they were during the previous campaign, Manchester United still boasted an outstanding record in home matches against the Magpies and it took a great finish from Cabaye and, more importantly, a superb, disciplined and clinical team performance to end the 41-year wait for a win at Old Trafford.
Saido Berahino, the young West Brom forward, denied Newcastle a winning start to 2014 by tucking away an 87th-minute penalty at the Hawthorns.
Tim Krul was adjudged to have brought down Matej Vydra in the closing stages, allowing Berahino to stroke home the winner.
The evening had already turned sour for United prior to the penalty, as Mathieu Debuchy was red-carded for a lunge on Claudio Yacob just after the hour mark.
Things got no better that weekend, as Cardiff City put an end to any hopes of a domestic cup run with a 2-1 victory in the third round of the FA Cup.
Papiss Cisse's 62nd-minute strike was cancelled out by Craig Noone and, with just ten minutes remaining, Frazier Campbell to heap misery on the 31,166 fans inside St. James' Park.
A rampant Manchester City then made it four straight defeats in all competitions with a 2-0 win on Tyneside - Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negredo the scorers - in a game that was notable for a disallowed Cheick Tiote thunderbolt.
The Ivorian's left-footed half-volley flew past Joe Hart into the corner but Yoan Gouffran, who was in close proximity to the England goalkeeper, was controversially deemed to have interfered with play in an offside position.
Yohan Cabaye's double and another from Loic Remy handed United a 3-1 win at Upton Park, with Carlton Cole the Hammers' line-leader and goalscorer in the absence of benched former Newcastle hitman Andy Carroll.
A goalless draw at Norwich City followed, but the point came at a price as Remy was sent-off following an altercation with Bradley Johnson.
Goal of the month
This is a prize that would have been won by Cheick Tiote, had his stunning strike against Manchester City counted.
But, in a relatively quiet month on the goal front, Yohan Cabaye once more takes the plaudits for a delicate, curling free-kick at West Ham that sealed the win, though his first that afternoon - a sidefooted strike from the edge of the area - would also be a worthy winner.
His brace at Upton Park were to prove to be his last goals for the Club as the Frenchman moved to Paris Saint-Germain.