Newcastle looked to be gathering momentum after a run of three straight Premier League wins but West Ham stunted their progression with a comprehensive 3-0 win at St James’ Park on Saturday.
Rafa Benitez used a five-man backline in the 2-1 victory over Burnley but reverted to a more attacking 4-4-1-1 for the visit of the Hammers, to little effect.
In came Javier Manquillo at left back, in place of Ciaran Clark, who had scored in that victory at Turf Moor and struggled up against the counter attacking speed of the visiting attack.
Next up for the Magpies is Everton, who underlined their progress by going toe to toe with title-chasing bitter rivals Liverpool on Sunday, undone only by a freak late goal from Divock Origi.
Another stern test on the horizon means that Benitez must inspire a better performance from his countryman, or more like, return Clark to his starting eleven for the trip to Goodison Park.
As a former Liverpool manager, Benitez is likely to get a lively reception but will relish the opportunity to extend their anguish after that last-gasp derby defeat.
But he needs to build that from a strong base. Going back to a five-man defence would be a good idea, as would bringing Clark back for the beleaguered Manquillo.