It's amazing what £20m worth of investment does to a visibly flagging and rapidly sinking team isn't it? Or rather it is amazing what £1.8m can get in the January transfer window these days as it was Moussa Sissoko, over any other player, who dictated where the points were going today with a monumental performance in the middle.
This must surely be the corner turned. The feel-good factor from our transfer dealings seemed unaffected by the shaky second-half against Aston Villa and fed into a slick, measured performance of both guile and grit from each individual in black and white.
And while it is Sissoko who defines this brave new era it would be unfair to focus exclusively on him when considering what went right today. Yoann Gouffran was full of running and looks to have a number of tidy tricks up his sleeve; Papiss Cisse looks re-energised (despite those two misses) and revelling in his role as top man again whilst Matheiu Debuchy offers the sort of forward momentum and drive that Danny Simpson can only dream of.
Compared to the dismal defeat at home last time out, this was a completely different team both in personnel and mindset and while it doesn't mathematically make up for the unforgivable home defeats against West Ham, Swansea and Reading the feel good factor alone from such a euphoric victory should guarantee us a few extra points in the coming weeks.
But really the game belonged to the towering figure of Sissoko. Many will now be left scratching their heads as to why such a powerful, technically adept, powerhouse of a midfielder wasn't in higher demand and the more anxious amongst us will already have one mind on the summer window. For now we can only enjoy watching a player of such huge potential.
It is truly remarkable that with barely 180 minutes under his belt he has already established himself as our most important player. Really he is the sort of driving, athletic bettering ram we've been crying out for for years and the prospect of him lining up in a midfield with Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa and a (hopefully) resurgent Cheick Tiote should fill us all with optimism for the coming weeks.
Credit too to Pardew both for his part in our bold moves in the transfer market but also his resisting the urge to tinker when 2-1 down. There's been much rightful criticism of his game ruining substitutions and baffling mid-game system shifting in recent weeks but his resilience here and the effective introduction of Sylvain Marveaux was really to his credit today.
We've had a few false dawns this season, results that looked like we were finally going to kick on but were soon undone by our nervy incompetence. Today, however, felt like the real deal and with the new Yaya Toure in our midst we should finally be able to start looking upwards again.