Record signing Alexander Isak helped blast Newcastle to within touching distance of Champions League football as they took top-four rivals Tottenham apart in a 6-1 rout at St James’ Park.
The £60million Sweden international scored twice in an astonishing first-half blitz which saw Eddie Howe’s men race into a 5-0 lead with just 21 minutes played to take his tally for an injury-interrupted season to 10.
Jacob Murphy also helped himself to a double either side of Joelinton’s strike with substitute Callum Wilson adding a sixth in front of a delighted crowd of 52,252 to lift their club back into third place above Manchester United, who have a game in hand, on goal difference.
In the process, they dealt a potentially fatal blow to Tottenham’s hopes of overhauling them with Harry Kane’s 49th-minute effort providing scant consolation.
The clock had just ticked past the minute mark when Joelinton accepted Bruno Guimaraes’ pass wide on the left and cut inside before firing towards the bottom corner.
Keeper Hugo Lloris did well to get down and turn the ball away, but Murphy followed up to smash the rebound into the roof of the net to give his side what he may have thought was the perfect start.
Within seven more catastrophic minutes for the visitors, the Magpies had increased their advantage to an all but insurmountable 3-0.
First Joelinton timed his run to perfection to latch on to Fabian Schar’s ball over the top and having controlled it expertly, rounded Lloris to thump a shot into the empty net, and the stunned Frenchman was beaten for a third time when Murphy was allowed time and space to to blast a viciously-swerving 25-yard piledriver high to his right.
They were carved open once again by Joe Willock’s 19th-minute through ball and Isak made the most of it with a low drive inside the far post before he repeated the feat two minutes later from a tighter angle to make it 5-0.
Tottenham boss Cristian Stellini replaced Pape Sarr with Davinson Sanchez, who had been hauled off against Bournemouth last weekend 23 minutes after being called from the bench, with 23 minutes gone, and his shell-shocked players gradually worked their way into the game.
However, they continued to look intensely vulnerable at the back and Sean Longstaff saw a 43rd-minute effort deflected just wide.
Lloris failed to reappear after the break as former Magpie Fraser Forster took his place in the firing line, although it was opposite number Nick Pope who was picking the ball out of his net after Kane had beaten him from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s through ball.
The visitors were belatedly showing signs of life, but Isak only just failed to make contact with a driven Longstaff cross before defender Dan Burn saw a header blocked from the resulting corner.
Stellini’s men were making a much better fist of the second half with Ivan Perisic, Skipp and Son Heung-min far more involved. It took a good 64th-minute block from Sven Botman to deny Son after he raced raced pass Schar from Perisic’s pass.
However, Wilson restored Newcastle’s cushion from close range within seconds of his arrival as a 66th-minute replacement for Isak, and substitute Anthony Gordon and Joelinton both saw attempts blocked as they went for the kill.