Showcasing his greatest attributes in a mature beyond his years exhibition, Nabil Bentaleb ran away with hearts and minds in helping pace Spurs to a well earned 3-1 victory over Magpies.
When his tackles weren't making a difference on the defensive side of the ball, the Algerian international put on a passing clinic that Andrea Pirlo would look at fondly. If you don't believe it, this passing chart should help convince you otherwise:
91 touches, 64 successful passes. Goodness.
Though he hasn't been without frustration during the 2013-14 campaign, introducing Paulinho of all people helped bring some razor focus to Bentaleb's evening against Newcastle. If he can maintain this level of form moving forward, Spurs' midfield should more regularly feature the kind of consistency every backer's been clamoring for during a rather variable first go at it under Mauricio Pochettino.
It's easy to forget the all-action midfielder is just 20 years old, particularly when he displays his skill set the way he did Sunday. But even if he can manage to merely summon a majority of the effort he did at St. James', Spurs' end of the season will have an exponentially better chance of being less vexing than the majority of it has been otherwise.
Cheers to Bentaleb for a night worth remembering. Here's hoping it's a launching point, not merely a highlight.