Featured image courtesy of nufc.co.uk
Saturday delivered the most convincing win of the season for Newcastle United. Since the turn of the year Newcastle have played 9 games in the premier league and taken 13 points, averaging 1.4 points per game. It is this type of form which will only hope to ensure Newcastle United stay in the Premier League for next season. Rafael Benitez deployed what appeared to be the best side he could pick. Newcastle began on the front foot from the first whistle and provided the first glimpse of how the rest of the game was going to unfold when Shelvey put in a hopeful ball into the box, aimed towards Kenedy who took it on the chest, spun his defender and finished neatly passed the Goalkeeper who had come out to challenge the ball.
The noise from the stadium was deafening and this video was recorded from outside the ground Click Here. Video courtesy of Football Away Days.
The second goal was created deep inside Newcastle’s own half, when Southampton gave away possession after a poor corner which resulted in Ayoze Perez storming up towards the Gallowgate with the ball, with one look up he gave it to Gayle who then turned provider when he squared it to Kenedy who was arriving into the box and only had to pass it into the goal for his second. The third goal came early in the second half when again Shelvey who had a fantastic game in midfield was able to take his time on the ball which brought a few Southampton defenders out of position, by doing so this allowed Ritchie space from outside the box to pick his place and shoot calmly from a Shelvey lay-off.
Picture courtesy of Euro News
Jonjo Shelley was at the heart of everything good, he was tracking back, pressurising opposing midfielders and was able to provide a couple of assists. All in all Southampton look a side who do not carry a great deal of confidence at the moment and they were punished by a well organised Newcastle performance. The clean sheet also comes as a timely welcome as Benitez knows that goal difference counts for everything when you’re in a relegation battle which Newcastle still are and probably will be in until the end of the season, however after Saturday’s performance they look like they have enough quality all over the pitch to stay up. Newcastle’s next game is in two weeks time, again at home against another team struggling in the league, Huddersfield Town. This game will be crucial for both sides as only a point separates the sides but Benitez will be looking to even the score for the season as Huddersfield were victorious at the John Smith’s.
Newcastle look like a side who are picking up points and since the turn of the year, they’ve been managing to achieve just that. They’ve only lost twice in the Premier League in 2018, and both fixtures have been away respectively to Man City 3-1 and also Liverpool which finished 2-0. Both results appear to be respectable and reduce the impact on goal difference which Benitez is aware could be a factor come the end of the season.
Rafael Benitez was happy with his team’s performance and praised the players for their hard work and attitude, not only because of Saturday’s result but with how they’ve been training and preparing for the games ahead. Southampton on the other hand look like a deflated team where leaders are hard to come by when confidence is low and it would appear they need someone from the team to stand up and be counted as they need to rely on someone to rally them through their next set of fixtures.
Newcastle United: Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey (Merino 83), Diame, Kenedy (Atsu 78), Perez, Gayle (Joselu 69).
Subs n/u: Darlow, Clark, Manquillo, Murphy.
Goals: Kenedy 2, 29, Ritchie 57.
Southampton FC: McCarthy, Cedric, Stephens, Hoedt, Bertrand, Hojbjerg, Lemina (Sims 46), Ward-Prowse, Tadic (Long 46), Redmond, Carrillo (Gabbiadini 66).
Subs n/u: Forster, Bednarek, Romeu, Boufal.
Bookings: Hoedt, Stephens.
Crowd: 52,246 including 1,600 away fans.