Newcastle United players celebrated survival at the King Power Stadium but when the dust settles on what has been an up and down campaign, they may look back the deadline day in January as the key moment.

The Magpies almost didn't get Joe Willock on loan after the club and the player thought long and hard about the terms of the deal but they clinched it just in time for the window's closure.

Without Willock, Newcastle probably wouldn't have beaten Leicester as he sparked the game into life with his desire and well-taken first goal.

That strike along with important goals against Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and West Ham have grabbed points at vital times.

And the question is now whether United can hold on to his services for next season, whether that's on loan or permanently.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has already stated they will take a look at him and when you consider that Willock's five goals are more than any Arsenal player has managed since he's been away, it is going to take something special to hold on to him for Newcastle.

Maybe Steve Bruce was managing his own expectations in his post-game Press conference when he said: "We'd love to keep him but he has got a big future."

Whatever happens, Newcastle have probably stayed up thanks to a borrowed body.

The key omission for Leicester that aided Newcastle's survival bid

Something wasn't quite right after the warm-up for Leicester's experienced Northern Ireland international Jonny Evans.

For some reason his discomfort was not only caught on camera but broadcasted live to the Press box where journalists could see him being assessed live by the club's physio.

The live feed was quickly shut down as the news spread around social media before Evans' withdrawal was confirmed.

The hole in Leicester's defence and late reshuffle was exposed by Newcastle as they romped into a 4-0 lead.

Despite the Foxes late fightback the damage was already done.

Brendan Rodgers said: "Jonny Evans is the brain of our backline and when he came out of the team that was a big blow for us. "However, we should still defend better."

Jonny Evans of Leicester City is seen sitting in the stands with crutches after picking up a injury in the warm up during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Newcastle United
Jonny Evans of Leicester City is seen sitting in the stands with crutches after picking up a injury in the warm up during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Newcastle United

A great win but awful form from earlier in the season tells its own story

Newcastle sit on 39 points with three games to play and have a decent chance to pick up their most points in the Premier League since winning promotion in 2017.

To do it they will need two more win and a draw from the Sheffield United (h), Man City (h) and Fulham (a) games.

However, as it stands they have the lowest tally of points since promotion from the Championship with 39 points from 35 games.

Last season they sat on 43 points at this stage and only managed 44 while the 2018/19 season under Rafa Benitez resulted in them earning 41 points after 35 games and finishing on 45.

In 2017/18 they had 41 points at this point and finished on 44.

This type of performance is standard under Mike Ashley's ownership but it's still far from spectacular.

And despite injuries and Covid, given Bruce has had a £100million forward line for long periods, it could be argued he should have around 10 more points this season with some poor results against Brighton, Sheff United and West Brom.

Five in a row for Newcastle

On the subject of life since Newcastle United were promoted from the Championship, they are now on the brink of their fifth successive year in the top-flight.

In all of them, they have spent the season staving off the drop and this term has been no exception.

Without putting a dampener on a highly creditable win at Leicester, the concern is unless there is a takeover, Newcastle's luck in terms of staying up won't last forever.

A much more structured plan is required next season if Newcastle are to make it a more enjoyable season.